As spring break approaches, many students are putting together the final pieces of their spring break trips. Whether it’s going to a foreign country or spending the days on the beach, students need to know what to do to ensure a safe spring break.
Every year, the college hosts a spring break information session to advise students on how to stay safe over break. This year’s session took place on March 8 in the commons. Different groups handed out pamphlets and tips for staying safe and having fun over spring break.
The Police Department held a Mock Drug Test that included students wearing goggles that affects their vision so it seemed like they were under the influence. Students then participated in tests that mimicked those of a DUI test to get an idea of how hard it is to function while drunk.
“[The goggles] give you the feeling of being impaired or being under the influence,” officer Dan Robles said. “Then we make them do a field sobriety test, like walking in a straight line or backwards. So we just give them the idea of what it’s like to be impaired like that.”
Paul Kyle suggests one of the best things students can do is create a buddy system, whether they stay home or go somewhere else over the break. Staying in a group is a great way to stay safe since the group will look out for its members wherever they go. He also advises to let people know where you are and what you’re doing.
“Have a calendar set up,” Kyle said. “Let people you know and love, friends and family, what your schedule is. So then people know that ‘oh, you’ll be at that hotel, even though I’m not going to be there at least we know where you’re at’.”
Robles also says that a key factor to staying safe is never to overindulge, whether it’s with alcohol, drugs or getting so caught up in the moment it’s hard to keep track of what is going on.
“It may be easier said than done, but we suggest if you’re gonna be under the influence or consuming alcohol … don’t overindulge,” Robles said. “That’s probably one of the worst things you could do because that’s when things start to go south.”
A huge fear among students is the possibility of being sexually assaulted while traveling. In cities where students go for spring break, it’s more likely for these sorts of attacks to take place.
Another crime that takes place in spring break cities is theft. Students tend to take cash and credit cards with them as they travel but don’t pay much attention to them when they’re out and having fun. The college’s Police Department has tips for students to make sure they keep their valuables safe. A few things that they advise are to keep cash and credit or debit cards in your front pants pocket, carry as little valuables in your purse or bag as possible and to walk with confidence and be aware in your surroundings.
Should a crime take place, the first thing students must do is report it to the police or local authorities, even if you’re in a foreign city or country. Police will want to know of any crime that happens so they can further investigate and keep everyone safe.
If you do decide to travel for spring break, there’s certain apps that you can download on your phone to stay safer. The Police Department promotes the app Circle of 6. You can download the app and add in six of your contacts, so if you’re out and feel uncomfortable or need help then you push on the button in the middle and the app will call one of the people. If that person doesn’t answer, the app moves to another person listed. The app continues to do this until someone answers for you to talk to.
Spring break can be a time to have fun and relax before the rest of the semester. It can also be a dangerous time since people tend to prey on students that are not always paying attention. So stay aware, keep an eye out for your friends and other people and stay safe.
“You leave your house and you don’t have to think about those kinds of things,” Kyle said. “But on spring break, those types of things merge together – lots of people, peer pressure, alcohol, those kinds of things can either be a disaster or be fun, depending on what you do.”