CU's safety tips for students

• Remember to use the buddy system. Don't walk alone, and don't leave friends alone while out at night.

• If you are out at night, remember it is harder for drivers to see you. Wear lighter colors.

• Police officers and other emergency services personnel work to keep the community safe. Your assistance in maintaining a safe environment is appreciated.

• People who want to exploit others often take advantage of the party environment and hope to go unnoticed. So if you doubt someone's motives or are concerned about your or someone else's safety, keep an eye on the situation and know when to make the hard call for help.

• If you ever think a friend is in danger due to alcohol or other drugs, call 9-1-1.

• Remember to be a good neighbor and keep your noise levels down. If you are hosting a party off-campus, please remember to sign up for the Party Registration Program.

• If you plan to leave town for spring break, practice the same safety protocols you follow in Boulder, which includes traveling in groups, looking out for friends, keeping hydrated, knowing your limits and complying with the law.

Source: CU Dean of Students, CU Police Department

A highlight of spring semester for many students is the one-week spring break. The University of Colorado is determined to make sure its roughly 30,800 undergraduate and graduate students leave and come back safely.


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Whether students are headed to warm-weather climes where adult beverages often flow prodigiously or to colder destinations to pursue adventurous winter sports or even foreign destinations where unexpected dangers could suddenly present themselves, the message is the same: Be aware and be smart.

Spring break this year is the week of March 27.

"We really focus on steps that you can take to avoid criminal activity," said CU police spokesman Scott Pribble.

CU officials did not know of a death by misadventure for a CU student at spring break since that of David Parrish, who was shot to death when his mother was mugged in Puerto Vallarta in 2008, which had a lasting impact on many CU students and staff.

The fact that Parrish died while vacationing with his mother underscores the fact that — particularly in the current climate when many fear possible terrorist activities, both at home and abroad — it's hard to ensure immunity from chance, potentially tragic events.

Students planning spring break trips to nontraditional destinations outside the United States are advised to check first with the U.S. Department of State, which issues travel warnings and advisories.

Pribble also urged students planning a trip to go through a reputable travel agency and avoid giving out personal information unless they know the person is legitimate to avoid scams.

Students leaving for the week who usually leave their bikes outside also should consider stashing them inside to remove the temptation from bike thieves, he advised.

He said students also shouldn't be lulled into a false sense of security by an exotic locale or desire to let loose.

"When you're enjoying yourself, you want to make sure that you're always aware of the situation around you and you're in control of your food and drink and personal belongings," he said. "Especially if travelling in another country, you should make sure you're aware of the local laws. We just want people to be careful."

While the word "party" often appears in close conjunction with the words "spring break," nowhere is it written that they must always be linked.

CU students have an advantage over students at many schools in the U.S. in that they could also have a fine vacation without ever leaving town.

Another option is CU's alternative spring break program, which combines education on social justice issues with volunteer work. Trips are led by student leaders and are based on social issues that range from mustang rescue to indigenous rights to reproductive justice.

"We want to make sure students feel like they can impact their community," said Hannah Wilks, director of CU's Volunteer Resource Center.

Amy Bounds: twitter.com/boundsa