Friday, August 30, 2013

7 safety tips for college students

Posted by Catherine Cloutier  August 27, 2013 02:21 PM

The beginning of college is an exciting time in students’ lives. But for many, the prospect of being on their own in a new and unfamiliar environment is frightening.

With the help of the Brandeis and Tufts’ police departments, we assembled a list of tips for students to keep them safe—and happy—during the new school year.

1. Lock your doors.

Make sure your dorm room or apartment is safe secure by keeping your doors locked at all times, especially if you are sleeping or out.

If you are moving into an off campus apartment, check the exterior doors and windows to make sure they have good locks. If the locks do not appear sturdy, ask your landlord or building manager to replace them.

For those in campus housing, do not prop open residence hall doors. They are locked to keep you safe.

2. Be aware of your surroundings.

Stay on well-lit and well-traveled pathways. Become familiar with the locations of campus emergency blue-light telephones. Remove ear buds or headphones so you can hear someone approaching. If possible, plan to walk across campus or to late night classes with a friend.

If you are walking to a car, carry your keys in your hand. Before entering the car, check that no one is inside or lingering nearby.

Most importantly, trust your instincts. If you feel unsafe, get out of the area as quickly as possible.

3. Program campus security numbers into your cell phone.

Many colleges offer late night ride services. Add that number, as well the emergency and non-emergency college police department lines, into your cell phone’s contacts list.

If you’re anxious about walking home late at night, use the ride service. It’s there to protect you.

4. Keep an eye on your belongings.

Don’t leave your laptop, cell phone, or anything of value on a table in the library or in a classroom. Walk with your purse or backpack fully zipped.

5. Know your limits.

When you’re drinking at a party, know when enough is enough. If you’re feeling sick, ask your friends to leave with you. If they refuse, call a campus ride service.

Opt for a can of beer instead of a Solo cup. If cups are the only option, pour your own drink or watch the person who does.

6. Report any suspicious activity or people.

Do not let unknown people into your residence hall. If there’s a stranger in your dorm or apartment, call the campus police immediately. Do not confront the person.

7. Ask for help.

If you feel unsafe, stressed, or overwhelmed, reach out to those around you. Colleges have a network of support, including residence hall advisers, health professionals, and campus police officers. Take advantage of the services provided on campus.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

More Safety Info Needed!

We still need more safety info about your university. Just send us a message or some fan mail letting us know the “unsafe” spots on campus! We can’t wait to hear from you! 

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Keep the Safety Info Coming!

Keep it coming guys! What are the “bad” areas to go on campus? Are there spots people traditionally get mugged or hurt? We want to know! 

Let us know so we can keep others informed! The more that the know, the less will get hurt! :)

Thursday, July 11, 2013

We Need Your Help!

Folks we’re compiling some safety data of colleges all around the country, but we can only get the information from students like you. 

We want to know the safest and unsafest places around your campus. Send us a message or some fanmail and let us know what to look out for on your campus (or if your school is generally a pretty awesomely safe place). We going to put all the info in an easy location for people to find. 

The safer we all are, the better!! 

Thanks you guys! You rock!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

How Well Do You Know Your Campus?

Every college campus in the United States has one very sad fact in common; there is at least one area that all students know to stay away from. Maybe it’s the one spot next to the gym building that the lights don’t quite hit. Maybe it’s the block that happens to share an alleyway with the local liquor store. Either way, these unsafe places aren’t usually something that’s advertised in your college’s orientation brochure. So how the heck do you find out the right and wrong route to take before you end up learning the hard way? By following these simple tips:

1.) Ask the right questions. You might be interested in a great place to go for a run or sit and clear your head, and the person you’re asking is going to tell you just that: where an amazing place is. However, they can’t guess where you will or won’t go from there. So ask about places you shouldn’t go as well. “Is there anywhere I should avoid? Why?” Then you’ll probably get an earful about that amazing running path just south of the library…and why you should only use it before 6:00 pm.

2.) Ask the right people. Let’s go back to the subject of the running path, shall we? If your friends have only ever seen pictures of the path, that’s not a very good source. Talk to someone that goes there regularly. Talk to campus police to see if they’ve had any reports or issues there.

And speaking of campus security, be sure to ask them the same questions as in the previous point; is there anywhere you shouldn’t be going? And don’t let them give you the classic cop-out of “well, just try not to walk around alone at night in dimly lit areas.” That’s common sense, everyone knows that. You want to know where the hot spots are around campus for unfavorable conditions. Where have most of the rapes or muggings occurred. If they don’t know, have them look it up. You can wait.

3.) Do your own research. In the end, word of mouth can only get you so far. So turn to your trusted friend Google to answer a few more of your questions. Look for newspaper articles or events/clubs. Sticking with our same example of the running path, look to see if there were any reported crimes in that area in the last few years. Then look to see if there is a running group that uses that path. Go to a safe place, at a safe time, with a group of other people and there you have it; you’ve now dramatically decreased your chances of ending up in a horrible situation. 

And don’t forget; for dorm safety items (like pepper spraysafes and personal alarms), check out our store at, and for dorm decorations (like dorm lightingfun drinking games, and wall decals) check out our store at!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Common Sense Home Safety Rules You’re Breaking

There are so many safety tips that may seem like common sense, but for some reason people (myself included) break these rules all the time. Between our hectic work and home schedules, it can often be easier to trust the outside world not to harm us, but in reality this is never a safe way to live; especially in a busy, high population city like New York or Los Angeles.

But no matter where you live, here are some common sense tips you’re probably ignoring:

1.) Lock your door. This has to be one of the easiest things to do and yet so many people fail to do it! Sure, you’re probably in a hurry, and sure, you’re probably only going to be gone for a second, but just take the extra moment to lock your door! Most home burglars look for the easiest possible home to break into, and an unlocked house is certainly very appetizing. It takes hardly any time at all, and doing it every time you leave the house will ingrain the habit into your mind.

2.) Leave a light on. We’ve been trained over the years to turn all the lights off when leaving a room, and there’s definitely nothing wrong with doing our part to save the earth on a daily basis. However, leaving a light on in the window at night will go a long way towards saving yourself from a dangerous situation. Burglars want to be as unseen as possible, so even if they know you aren’t home, a light is still going to deter them for fear that someone else will see them. Use a compact fluorescent bulb to save on your utility bill spiking through the roof and even pair it with low-playing music to better protect yourself.

3.) Be careful when answering the door. This is home safety 101. Even as young children we were all taught to be careful of strangers, yet as soon as we grow up we throw all of that well-intentioned advice out the door…literally. Don’t let your trusting nature get the best of you in this situation. Unless you’re expecting an electrician, don’t automatically open the door just because someone is dressed like one. Put that peephole to good use!!

4.) Get to know your neighbors. The quickest way to find out if anything suspicious was going on while you were out is to ask the people that were there. Your neighbors are you best alarm and surveillance system, not to mention they probably have the same goals that you do: to keep everyone in your building/complex out of harm’s way. Plus, knowing your neighbors will help you both help each other. You can pick up their mail for them when they’re out of town and they can do the same for you. Everyone wins!

5.) Get a pet. It doesn’t have to be a dog, really any pet makes a thief uncomfortable. Even birds will make a loud ruckus if someone unfamiliar comes barging in, not to mention starts rummaging through stuff. Remember, thieves want to choose the easiest target possible, and a locked, well-lit apartment with a loud pet is definitely not the easiest target.

And don’t forget; for dorm safety items (like pepper spraysafes and personal alarms), check out our store at, and for dorm decorations (like dorm lightingfun drinking games, and wall decals) check out our store at!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Reducing Hazardous Waste in Your Home

When you think of the ways your life could be improved, the reduction of hazardous waste in our homes is usually pretty far down on the list. However, we feel it should be moved up a notch or two. It’s not just about your home being clean - a clean home can still be a hazardous landmine – it’s about making sure the place you sleep, eat and drink is as safe as possible, and we’ve got a few ways to help you do that.

1.) Know your labels. Know what you’re buying before you buy it. Having a harmful product in the house is almost as hazardous as using it. Plus, if you have children or pets in your home they are surely bound to run across it someday. You also don’t want to be moving a product from one labeled container to an unlabeled one. You want to make sure that you or anyone else that might use something like a specific cleaning supply knows exactly what they are getting into. Keeping it in a labeled container also allows you to do step #2:

2.) Follow directions. In this day and age, directions are really treated as more of an afterthought. For the most part, we should be able to figure out how to use something. However, accidently using too much could be incredibly unsafe. That’s why there are directions in the first place; to make sure we aren’t exposed to a dangerous amount of a certain chemical.

3.) Store your products properly. Many chemicals can change if stored at certain temperatures, so make sure your products are kept at the right one; often between 50 and 80 degrees in a dry environment, but some products have more rigid storage requirements. Exposure to humidity or sunlight can also change the composition of what’s inside, leaving you with a surprise product made out of already hazardous materials in your home.

4.) Give away extras. If you don’t need it, don’t keep it! There’s no point in simply letting git sit in your home. Unused cleaning supplies can be given to a friend that hasn’t started their spring cleaning yet, unused pesticides can be donated to plant nurseries and paint can be donated to theater groups.

5.) Dispose of products properly. As convenient as it may be, simply tossing the empty container (or even a container with remaining product) into the garbage can is not the best choice. Potentially hazardous materials need to be handled at a proper waste disposal site to ensure they don’t end up in a landfill, seeping into the groundwater or contaminating our lakes and streams.

And don’t forget; for dorm safety items (like pepper spraysafes and personal alarms), check out our store at, and for dorm decorations (like dorm lightingfun drinking games, and wall decals) check out our store at!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

5 Cheap Ways to Increase Your Home’s Security

Everyone wants to live in a safe and secure environment, but let’s be honest, everyone does not have extra thousand dollars lying around in order to equip ourselves with a decent home security system. Plus, take away the fact that many of us aren’t allowed to have a dog in our current dwelling and we might literally feel a little exposed. Never fear though, we’ve put together a few ways to keep your home safe when you don’t have a fortune to spend.

1.) Have a roommate. Whether you live with a friend or a significant other, the more people you live with the less likely a criminal is willing to risk breaking into your house. When you are the only resident, all they have to do is follow one schedule. When you’re not home the whole place is up for grabs, but when you have a roommate, that’s a whole other person they have to keep track of. In addition, when you go out of town there’s a good chance your home will still be occupied.

2.) Fake a pet. Landlord won’t let you keep a dog in your house? A burglar doesn’t know that. Even a simple “Beware of Dog” sign on your front gate will be enough to deter the majority of home burglars. The best “fake it” story I ever heard was a mother that accidently broke the lock on her daughter’s front door, so while the house had to spend a few days unlocked before it could get fixed, the mother left a sign on the door that read:

Susan –

I accidently let your snakes out. I had to go to work but I’ll come by later to look for them.



3.) Ask the neighbors to help out. If you’re going to be gone for a weekend, ask a neighbor if they wouldn’t mind parking their car in your driveway for a couple nights. Have them stop by and get the mail for a few days as well. Nothing says “no one has been home in days” like a steadily growing stack of mail in your entryway.

4.) Set your timers. It’s fairly easy to set a timer to a few lights or your television within your home. They only cost roughly $15 and you can plug your television or lamps into them. Having flickering lights and sounds in your home will make it seem less obvious that it’s actually completely empty.

5.) Get a cheap alarmThe typical burglar is not some kind of professional, but actually a male teen living in your neighborhood. In addition, most burglars want to spend no more than 60 seconds breaking into your home. If it takes longer than that, they’ll move on to an easy target. So one of the best deterrents isn’t a fancy home security system, but a simple, loud alarm. You can a simple door alarm up at the store for about $20.

And don’t forget; for dorm safety items (like pepper spraysafes and personal alarms), check out our store at, and for dorm decorations (like dorm lightingfun drinking games, and wall decals) check out our store at!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Renter Safety Issues Solved

Renting a home is one thing, but being a renter with a few of the issues listed below is just plain dangerous. Hopefully, if any of these things happen to you it will be nothing more than a mere headache, but just in case things get a little heavier than anticipated, here are a few ways to get yourselves out of the following situations:

1.) Unwanted guests. Far and away one of the worst parts about renting: the random people you have to deal with. If you have a roommate, that means at some point their brother, good friend from high school, old sorority sister or even “this really, totally awesome guy I just met at the bar last night” all have a free pass to your home. And if you don’t have roommates, you’re still going to have to deal with the occasional surprise home inspection (read your lease, it’s in there) or even an additional roommate if your landlord decides he needs an extra room for his uncle that was just released from rehab. I’m making it worse than it sounds, but you get the point.

So how do you protect yourself? Well first of all, make sure the important things are kept somewhere secure. That means anything you’d rather not be messed with (like your collection of old vinyl records) needs to be kept in your bedroom. Then keep it locked up. Door lockssafes, and padlocks can work wonders when dealing with random house guests.

2.) Sketchy appliances. Of course the first thing you should do whenever any appliance breaks is to notify your landlord. Most states have a “duty of repair” which requires them to keep certain appliances (like those used for heating, cooling, electrical, plumbing and sanitary, just to name a few). Keep a record that you reported the problem in writing, and make sure it’s dated as well. You don’t want to be stuck with the bill if you need to move out three months later and the refrigerator still hasn’t been fixed.

The main issue though, is to get the item fixed as soon as possible. A broken stove could result in a more dangerous situation, such as a gas leak. After a reasonable time frame (usually two weeks), you can take your complaint to local housing officials if your landlord hasn’t attempted to make any progress. You can also contact your landlord to tell them you will be hiring a professional to fix the damaged item and you will be keeping the receipt for reimbursement.

3.) A negligent landlord. Or, the problem is your landlord him – (or her) – self. Maybe they aren’t keeping up on any of their required duties, such as putting a new lock on your door, fixing the broken step on the front stoop or replacing the missing handrail on the fire escape. If this is the case, move! These things all directly affect your individual safety, and you deserve better!

And don’t forget; for dorm safety items (like pepper spraysafes and personal alarms), check out our store at, and for dorm decorations (like dorm lightingfun drinking games, and wall decals) check out our store at!

Got anything to add?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Questions Parents Should Ask Campus Police

When a student is trying to choose a university or college for the next four years, the efficiency of the campus security is probably the last thing on their mind. Other factors, like the academic and athletic program, price and distance from family and friends will probably be closer to the front of their mind. So here’s where the parents can come in. Wait until your son or daughter has narrowed down their top choice in schools to two or three and then ask each school these 5 questions:

1.) What qualifications to your campus security officers have? Many campus security officers have to go through similar training to that of an actual policeman, but other schools simply make them go through an 8-hour course, hand them a Taser and call it a day. You’ll want to make sure the people responding to possible threats actually know what they’re doing, compared to just a scared kid on a work-study program.

2.) Are background checks performed before security members are hired? You would think, in this day and age, that everyone would undergo a background check before they were hired, but it’s not the case. Background checks do cost money (not a lot of money) and do require some time, so a financially strapped college that needs to fill a job ASAP might skimp on something like this. Plus, the hiring process for campus security could be very different than the hiring process of the school’s professors and other staff. Don’t assume that just because one staff member has undergone a background check that all staff members have undergone a background check.

3.) How is the campus security funded and is it adequate? The national norm for the amount of an institutional budget that is spent on campus security is about 2.5-3 percent. How does this school use their funds? They can brag and brag and brag and brag about the level of personnel they have working for them, but if it’s only people because that’s all they can afford, it really doesn’t matter how outstanding they are. There is only so much so few people can handle. A financially strapped institution probably won’t be able to offer campus security escorts during sticky situations, for example.

4.) Where can I see the crime statistics for this school? One great way to know the effectiveness of campus security is checking to see how many crimes are actually reported. A safe campus doesn’t necessarily mean nothing is reported, it means that of the crimes that are reported, a healthy percentage of them are pursued and solved. Schools with little to no crime reports often mean that students aren’t reporting crimes because nothing ever happens to the perpetrators anyway.

5.) How often does the school conduct a comprehensive risk and threat analysis? The old, “If it ain’t broke don’t fix it” mantra doesn’t work here. Every few years a whole new slew of problems arise, and if the campus security hasn’t been doing its research they won’t be able to do anything about them before it’s too late. Think about it; Facebook stalking has only been around fairly recently. Your school better have a plan set in place for dealing with something like that.

And don’t forget; for dorm safety items (like pepper spraysafes and personal alarms), check out our store at, and for dorm decorations (like dorm lightingfun drinking games, and wall decals) check out our store at! 

Can you think of any questions we’ve forgotten?

Monday, November 12, 2012

When You DO Need to Get Involved

There are times and situations when you just need to keep to yourself and not get involved. However, there are also other circumstances that make it necessary for you to stop whatever you’re doing and help out. These are some of these times:

1.) When someone is in danger. Now let me be very clear here, this does not mean that it’s appropriate to put yourself in danger, it just means that something needs to be done. If your friend is in a violent and dangerous relationship, for example, it’s not recommended that you march over to their house and give their significant other a taste of their own medicine (as much as we all would probably love to do that). Instead, you need to have a serious talk with your friend about what is happening behind closed doors. Naturally, this can be an incredibly difficult thing to talk about, so don’t pressure them for information. Simply let them know that you are there for them and then keep an eye out for suspicious behavior.

2.) Someone can’t take care of themselves. Let’s say you’re walking down the street and you see someone so drunk they’re stumbling in and out of traffic. Now of course it’s not your job to go get them, prop them up, take them home and nurse them back to health, but it is your job (as it is everyone’s job) to do something. Simply calling the cops and explaining the situation (you can even do it anonymously) is enough.

3.) When you’re unsure. This one can be debated, but I’d rather fall back on the “it’s better to be safe than sorry” mantra. For example, a few years ago there was an older woman who lived a few houses up from me. I knew her because my cat often went missing, and I always ended up knocking on her door asking if she’d seen him. One day, while out for a run, I noticed a man in his mid-40’s forcing himself into the house. I went and knocked on the door and no one answered, but I heard someone moving around inside. I called the cops and soon they were there talking to the man. Apparently she was out of town and this was her son, and she had forgotten to leave a key so he could get into her house. When she came back into town (and her son had left) she came over and thanked me for checking on her. Moral of the story: she was perfectly fine, but under different circumstances her life could’ve been in serious danger, and she truly appreciated that at least someone was looking out for her.

4.) When you’re the only one that knows anything. Many bad deeds happen in secret and behind closed doors and if no one knows what is going on things will continue the way they are. If you witness something that is wrong (a professor being inappropriate, a roommate blackmailing another roommate, etc.) speak up! Failing to do so does not keep you on the side of neutrality, it puts you on the side of the offender.

And once again, it’s better to be safe than sorry! Check out our store at for plenty of personal safety equipment like pepper spraypersonal alarmsdorm room safes and more!


Friday, November 2, 2012

3 Safety Concerns for College Students in Winter

Well folks, November has finally come around, which means the snow and cold won’t be far behind (if it hasn’t hit some spots already), and with plenty of snow and cold comes a whole new batch of safety concerns. So read on, take notes, and be safe this winter!

1.) Cold related sicknesses. Sure, it seems like no big deal (after all, what’s a little cold every now and then?), but we’re talking more about something like hypothermia. Every year, I hear about some college student getting drunk at a holiday party, trying to walk home (or just walk to across the street) and then never quite making it and freezing to death in the bushes outside their house. It’s colder than you think out there, and you need to be smart. Not that walking around town drunk was ever a good idea, but keep a little closer eye on your friends this year.

And if you do lose your friend, find their phone. I recently just installed a “lost phone” app (called Find iPhone) on mine and my boyfriend’s phone. If he can’t find his phone, I use the app on mine and it makes his phone beep while showing me exactly where it is on a GPS map. So see, it’s convenient if you can’t find your phone, or if you can’t find the person that is probably with the phone.

2.) Car dawdling. This time of the year is a jackpot for predators looking to jump an innocent victim on their way to their car. Not only do people generally take longer to get into their car (clearing the snow off of the door handle, scraping ice off the windshield), but it also takes people longer to leave. They sit in the car until it warms up a bit. They text while their windshield thaws. Don’t do that! Your best idea would be to install an electric starter that you can use from inside. Your vehicle remains locked, but it’s warming up without you inside it. That way you unlock it, put the key in the ignition and leave.

And if you can’t install an automatic starter (I know, my car is too old for this kind of luxury), please be smarter about how you prepare yourself. Have someone out there with you to help you clear off the snow or ice. Do their car at the same time while you’re out there. Start your car, go back inside and watch from a window inside, and carry some pepper spray or a personal alarm on your keychain just in case anything does happen.

3.) Less awareness. Walking somewhere in the winter time gives a whole new set of challenges. Very often you don’t have the best footing (walking on partially frozen sidewalks), you can’t hear much between the hat covering your ears and the wind whipping by, and you probably aren’t focused on your surroundings; you’re focused on staying warm. Personally, I’m guilty of this all the time; I put my hands in my pockets, look straight down and walk as fast as I can in the general direction of my destination.

This is stupid: very, very stupid. Predators know how to spot an easy target from a mile away, and someone with their hands in their pockets that isn’t even looking 10 feet in front of them is definitely an easy target. Plus, it’s cold out. A predator might wait all night for the perfect victim on a warm summer’s eve, but in 10 degree weather in the middle of winter? They’re going to take the first bait that comes along. So don’t be an easy target. Better yet, get a ride.

And don’t forget to check out our store full of college safety equipment at

Do you have any additional winter safety tips?

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Does Your School Need an Update?

I’m sure you have all heard the phrase, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” at one point or another. And while this phrase is certainly useful in certain occasions, there are situations when this way of thinking is downright dangerous. Your school’s role in the level of your safety, unfortunately, happens to be one of them.

Folks, let’s get completely honest for a second here: the world is changing and it’s changing fast. If your school isn’t continually updating their safety procedures, you are in danger. In fact, you’re probably in more danger than you even realize.

An example you say? Why certainly!

Just this month, a student was raped, in her dorm, by four unknown students that did not reside in that dorm. Just how did they get in? They were signed in, by a student that didn’t know them. Now even though this is a blatant violation on both the part of the student signing in people they didn’t know as well as the individual that let them go (they required only 3 out of the 4 students to sign in), there’s an even larger problem at stake. All it took was for a few people to convince someone to sign them in and the entire dorm was at their mercy. Now I don’t know about you, but I’m the kind of person that jumps at the chance to help someone out. Of course I tell myself I would never sign in someone I don’t know, but change the circumstances a little bit and I easily could’ve been in the same situation.

What if it was snowing outside and they just wanted to sit in the lobby? I’d sign them in so they could sit where it was nice and warm. Sure it meant they could go upstairs, but I’d trust them not to. Bad idea? Definitely.

The problem here lies mostly with the school. A policy that requires you to be signed in by someone you may or may not know means it just takes one little white lie to get you in the door. In this case, the school is revisiting their security policy as well as conducting regular floor meetings to reiterate the school’s safety policies.

So what do you think should happen? Should the student that signed the individuals in be punished? What if the student did know them and they ended up raping someone without the student’s knowledge, should they still be punished?

Do you have any ideas for a possible policy change that might prevent this sort of thing from occurring in the future? What kind of dorm security policy to you have at your school? Do you think it’s adequate or that it needs to be updated?

Let us know, we’d love to hear your opinions on this matter! 

In the meantime, don’t forget to check out our store ( to pick up some personal safety equipment of your own like various personal alarms and pepper spray

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

How to Negotiate a Confrontational Situation

Safety isn’t just about knowing what to do when something happens to you, it’s also about knowing how to avoid making a situation worse, and whether you’re at a party and fight starts up or you’re trying to discuss your final grade with a hostile professor, you’re going to want to handle the situation in the best possible way. Otherwise, you could end up getting clocked in the face, or worse, a horrible, undeserved final grade.

1.) Speak softly and move slowly. There’s a common difference between people who don’t get in fights and people that do get in fights: people that don’t get in fights have mastered the art of being non-threatening, and when you are non-threatening it means the other person has no reason to get defensive.

2.) Use “I” terms instead of “You” terms. You may have heard this suggestion before, but what does it mean? Well here’s an example: instead of saying, “You’re not making any sense,” say something like, “I can’t seem to understand what you’re saying.” Using “you” terms puts the blame on the other person, while using “I” terms shifts the problem to yourself. You’re essentially taking credit for the lack of communication, which once again makes it difficult for the other person to become defensive.

3.) Affirm their viewpoint. Acknowledging their perspective will also help to keep down their level of defensiveness. Say something to your busy professor along the lines of, “Hey, I know that you have a million things to do right now, but I’d really appreciate it if I could talk to you about my grade for a second.” And if you’re trying to keep your buddy from knocking out a random stranger at a house party, starting off your statement with, “Look, we all know that guy is a total douche but…” and then make your intelligent point.

4.) Ask open ended questions. Open ended questions give the other person a chance to express what is actually bothering them. Questions that end in yes and no aren’t going to get you anywhere. A flustered roommate probably isn’t mad at you; they probably have a lot on their mind and are taking it out on you. As soon as you get to what’s really on their mind, things will run more smoothly around the house. So instead of asking if you both should watch a movie tonight, ask them what kind of movie they’re in the mood for. Their answer should lead to further conversation.

5.) Know when to quit. Sometimes it’s just time to give up. That doesn’t mean you’ve lost the battle, necessarily, it simply means you’re avoiding making anything worse. If you’re trying to negotiate with someone and it starts becoming pretty clear that you aren’t going to be making any progress anytime soon, it might be time to call it a night. Cut your losses and if possible visit the situation at a later time.

And remember, if the situation can’t be deescalated, it’s always important to carry some sort of personal safety device, like a personal alarm or some pepper spray. Check out our store ( for even more dorm safety equipment!

Do you have any tips for handling these kinds of situations?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Your Most Dangerous Thought

College can be a tricky time in a person’s life. It’s as if you are expected to know everything about who you are and what you will become before you even turn 19, and the bet tens of thousands of dollars that you are right. Oh wait, nevermind…that’s exactly what college is. So it’s completely understandable if you’re thinking through a few things.

However, there is a difference between weighing the pros and cons of a situation and having a harmful thought process. The fact is that some of those irrelevant thoughts that enter your mind are actually quite dangerous, and need to be squashed immediately. But there is one thought that is more dangerous than all of those. Can you guess what it is?

“Just this once.”

The phrase “just this once” means you are trying to dodge the consequences of a risky behavior by cutting down on the number of times you perform that behavior. Let’s take a look at some of the situations, shall we?

1.) With drugs and Alcohol. College is a time for experimentation, I’ll admit that. There is definitely a certain amount of drugs and alcohol that are passed around on a frequent basis (depending on the circle of friends you hang out with), but that doesn’t mean you can get stupid. No matter how many times you participate, there are consequences: one positive piss test could mean an expulsion and the loss of your scholarships, suspension for your specific sport if you’re on an athletic team, and let’s not even get into the consequences from your own family. Plus, driving home drunk “just this once” not only endangers you, but anyone else out on the road that you may encounter.


2.) Sexually. Like I mentioned above, college is a time for experimentation, but experimentation shouldn’t mean that safety goes right out the window. Everyone you meet has a different backstory, which means everyone you meet may or may have been exposed to sexually transmitted diseases, so use some form of protection every time. Think about it, it only takes one time to get pregnant or be infected with HIV. Do you really want to risk that for a bit of fun one night?

3.) By cheating. College is stressful, and I can’t count the number of times I’ve been watching a bit of evening television and then suddenly realized that I have a 16 page paper due the next morning. It happens.

However, that doesn’t mean you can cheat. Borrowing your roommate’s paper may sound like a good idea at the time, but professors are wizening up to this sort of thing. Now they just scan your paper and enter it into a database, so even if your roommate wrote that paper for another class, three semesters ago, it still comes up, and then you’ve got some questions to answer.

So just suck it up and do the work. What do you think an all-nighter is, anyway?

4.) With your safety. Trust me, I’ve been there; it’s 1:30 in the morning and you just have  to get to your dorm room before morning. It’s only a 12 minute walk, so you should be fine, right? No. Don’t do it. Even if you do have the proper safety equipment (some pepper spray, a personal alarm, the iWitness app on your phone), you are still putting yourself at risk. You’d be surprised how many drunk freshmen end up freezing to death while trying to walk home. If you can’t get a ride just call campus security. Many times they’ll just come pick you up, no problem.

And don’t forget to check out our store ( for more personal safety essentials!

Anyone got any advice on this subject?