Advice for students and families on staying safe in college

Advice for students and families on staying safe in college
Always traveling in groups on a college campus was among the suggestions for prospective college students and their families at an April 10 seminar as part of National Victims' Rights Week. (2011 photo)

Handling stress, peer pressure, drinking and other issues that face college students were the topics for a group of panelists at the Arbutus Library on Thursday, April 10.

The evening seminar designed for college-bound students and their families, was organized by the Wilkens Police and Community Relations Organization (WPCRO) and Soroptimist International of Arbutus, who co-sponsored the event, with the assistance of the Wilkens Precinct of the Baltimore County Police Department for National Victims' Rights Week.


The seminar was one of many events held across the county to address domestic violence, college campus safety, bullying and crime prevention.

Representatives and students from University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), the Catonsville campus of the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC), University of Maryland at College Park, Stevenson University and Towson University were part of the panel that discussed time management and stress, binge drinking, relationship violence, mental health and campus safety.

Daniel Syms, assistant director of student life at CCBC Catonsville, addressed handling stress and time management.

"One of the biggest challenges students face is understanding and structuring your time while you're in college," Syms said.

Zita Tangye, at CCBC student on the school's South Rolling Road campus, explained that having good time management skills can help reduce stress.

"Get it done so you can get things out of the way and so you can do other things," Tangye said.

Tangye said being prepared for class is important and suggested reading ahead of time.

Sarah Mansfield of Stevenson University spoke about binge drinking on college campuses.

Mansfield said, "[Binge drinking] is a common problem on college campuses but not everyone is doing it."

"It's okay to say no and there are other opportunities to get engaged on campus," Mansfield said.

Chris Ambrose, another student at Stevenson, advised students that if they intend to drink, it's important to think ahead.

"Make a plan to have a designated driver and travel in groups. Never, ever travel alone. You always want to take someone with you," Ambrose said.

Ryan Kane, director of the office of student conduct and civility education at Towson University, said it's important to look at the safety of the campus where students are considering going to college.

"Ask about the crime statistics to make sure you're comfortable with the campus," Kane said. "Colleges are required to supply students with resources about violence and sexual assault."


Kim Leisey, associate vice president of student affairs at UMBC, addressed mental health issues on campus.

From dealing with allergies to mental health issues, schools have the resources to help students, Leisey said.

"We want people to know that there is a place where you can go to get help," Leisey said.