What can you do when your campus doesn't feel safe?

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| July 31 2016,

10:30 am

It's summertime, and many of us are away from our college campuses for nearly another month. Since we've been on summer vacations or at summer internships, the country has further descended into higher racial tensions than ever. Last fall, the protests at Mizzou was a hot topic, and sparked national outrage and solidarity among college students on various campuses across the country. Unless you've graduated this past spring (Congratulations!), you're headed back to school soon. What can you do when your campus feels as volatile as the rest of the world? Here are some key things I do:

Engage with student groups

Whether it's your Black Student Union or student government in general, you should be engaging with student groups already organizing around social issues of importance and creating tangible solutions for change on your campus. Chances are, these groups already have names and contact information for exactly how to get in touch with important people in your college administration

Engage with devoted departments

My college has an Office of Diversity and Inclusion whose sole job is to work on making sure the campus feels like an equitable and safe space for all students. This is where you go when you feel that you're being treated unfairly by an instructor or one of your professors makes a remark that's out of line. These departments have budgets and paid staff who are on campus to help you. They're also constantly in danger of being dismantled if they aren't viewed as a valuable resource to the student body

Try not to walk alone at night

Even though this one feels annoying to me ('cause I'm super independent), walking with someone else or a group does keep you more safe on campus. Whether you're being harassed by the police or another student, it helps to have witnesses and just homies to have your back if something goes down. It also makes you less likely to be targeted if you aren't by yourself

Keep your phone charged at least 50 percent

Video documentation has been paramount to raising awareness around crimes — even if it has yet to translate into more convictions. You can buy a portable charger at most corner stores so that you don't have to plug into an outlet if your battery starts to get low. Buy more powerful portable chargers for a bit more money at retailers such as Best Buy

Recruit true allies

Intersectionality and alliance makes any cause more powerful.  While working with the BSU on your campus is going to be great, go outside of that and see if there are other groups surrounding different backgrounds who would align with your cause. This will make your collective voice stronger

What helps make you feel safe on campus? Let us know in the comments below

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