It is no secret that ISU students love to have fun on the weekends. Hey, maybe even the weekdays, who’s counting? But, is it safe to say that all of us are taking the proper precautions while engaging in these activities?
The streets of Normal on a Friday night into the early hours of Saturday morning are crawling with students, many of whom have consumed some measure of alcohol within the evening. These students are usually seen traveling in packs. However, in rare occasions there can be a student seen walking along a sidewalk solo.
This is the first and perhaps the most important rule of thumb when it comes to taking the proper safety measures of going out: Always use the buddy system. This is important in many situations, but especially when alcohol is consumed and one cannot function at a normal capacity. A lone individual is seen as vulnerable and easier to be taken advantage of. This exact factor is usually the reason for many of the ISU Crime Alerts sent out to students via mobile text and email.
Around the campus are various, easy to be found emergency kiosks. There are 75 of these kiosks that glow with a blue light and are placed along sidewalks and around the Quad in case of a crime in progress. When used, a notification is automatically sent to the ISU Police with the caller’s location.
Another way to stay safe is to always have a plan before going out. Talking with friends about where you will be throughout the night and what time you all plan to leave is a good way to keep track of one another.
If you are planning on attending a party across town, or going downtown to the bars, it is a good idea to set up a designated driver before hand or know the number to a taxi. A far walk is never ideal, especially late at night.
Planning the night keeps your mind sharp, which is exactly the advice former President Al Bowman gives to the students of ISU.
“I think the biggest thing is just to be aware of your surroundings and to keep your wits about you,” Bowman said. “I think students will be able to enjoy the weekend if they make sure they know what’s going on around them.”
Bowman has been around the campus for quite some time, so he knows a thing or two about the nightlife and how to stay safe. Although, he believes Normal to be a relatively safe community for students and there isn’t much for students to worry about.
Illinois State University’s Chief of Police Aaron Woodruff verified this, stating that the crime rate has stayed at a low and stable rate throughout the years. Although, he does have advice for those planning to consume alcohol at house parties.
“Never leave a drink unattended and avoid ‘jungle juices’ containing unknown liquids which could incapacitate you or lead to serious health problems,” Woodruff said.
The ISU Police have a strong presence during the weekend. They are certainly loyal to keeping their campus and students safe. They suggest that one does not walk alone, and give out a phone number to call an officer as an escort if needed ((309) 438-WALK).
There are many other precautions that should be taken before a night on the town. These could go as far as making sure one’s phone is fully charged before leaving, drinking at a moderate pace of no more than one to two drinks per hour, and staying off the Constitution Trail late at night.
Weekends are meant for fun, but that fun should be done safely and responsibly. So, sit down, create a plan and make this weekend a safe, yet good time.
For more information on the ISU Campus Police visit Police.IllinoisState.edu.