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.


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 presents themselves, the message is the same: Be aware and be smart.

"We make sure to message to our students a couple weeks before spring breakabout being safe and making good decisions, and the decisions aren't really that different than the ones you would make here in Boulder," said CU spokesman Ryan Huff.

"Be aware of your surroundings, especially at night, use the buddy system and have an awareness level — especially when you are perhaps in a different country, or a tourist destination where there are people who want to take advantage of tourists. Be aware, be with your friends and make good decisions."

Spring break this year is the week of March 21.

Huff 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 where many fear possible terrorist activities, both at home and abroad, it's hard to ensure immunity from chance, potentially tragic, events.

"I think that can happen anywhere, and we have study abroad programs all over the world," Huff said. "Our international education office is monitoring the state department alerts for concerns, so we're very aware of that. Unfortunately, in this day and age, bad things can happen just about anywhere. Keep your awareness up, have a good time and don't let your guard down."

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

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

"We've really seen great success in recent years with the Alternative Breaks Program," said Huff.

"This is a program where students who don't want the party scene, and want to volunteer their time, can sign up to a for a variety of programs. They range from going to New Orleans and rebuilding houses that were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina, to going to science camps in California and teaching kids about the outdoors. We have seen that program become quite popular for students."

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

Charlie Brennan: