College life: Fraternity parties can revolve around alcohol, so just make sure you moderate your intake. *MCT photo
College life: Fraternity parties can revolve around alcohol, so just make sure you moderate your intake. *MCT photo

As freshmen move out of their childhood homes and into the residence halls, there are a few things they should keep in mind to stay healthy and safe this school year.

For many, this is the first time they will be living away from home for an extended period of time.


With college comes a large amount of freedom most 18-year-olds are not familiar with.

Two campus health and safety experts at Arizona State University (ASU), Police Commander Jim Hardina, and director of ASU Health Services Allan Markus, have these tips for this year’s freshman class.

Use common sense

Both stressed this particular piece of advice for students. That includes following old habits created when students were still living at home.

“Students think, ‘I’m on campus, it’s safe,’ and it is, but it’s not crime-free,” said Commander Hardina.

Students walking on campus at night should try to walk in groups and tell friends when they will be back, he said.

Pickpockets target people walking with headphones on, both during the day and at night, so be aware of your surroundings.


Mr Markus said that if students get enough rest, eat well and exercise, they should be able to avoid unwanted weight gain.

“Get a good night’s sleep and maintain a regular bedtime,” said Mr Markus.

Even though students may be staying up late to study, they should still get the recommended eight hours of sleep a night.

Exercise is also important and colleges offer many options to stay in shape.

With intramural sports, weight training, dance and aerobics classes and more, students have access to different types of physical activity.

But healthy living isn’t just getting sleep and exercise. Mr Markus said concentrating on a healthy diet is also important.

“With so many options available to students, they really can make good food choices,” he said.

Lock your door

Expensive valuables like TVs, laptop computers, video game systems, stacks of DVDs, MP3 players, stereo systems and smartphones are in nearly every dorm room.

“The whole time I’ve been at ASU, I can’t think of one instance where someone forced open a door,” said Commander Hardina.

“In almost all thefts, either the door was unlocked or things were stolen by a roommate or suitemate.”

Get vaccinated

It is recommended that students get a meningitis vaccination before college, since those who are college-age are at highest risk, said Mr Markus.

During freshman check-in, there may be a meningitis vaccination clinic, which makes it easy for students.

Illnesses can spread from one end of the hall to the other.

It’s important for students to get the flu vaccination when it becomes available later in the fall, said Mr Markus.

For example, ASU Health Services hosts a flu clinic to vaccinate as many people as possible.

Don’t drink

While college can be a time to experiment, students who drink take more than just the risk of drinking underage.

The ASU Police Department actively enforces minor consumption regulations because it helps keep students safer, said Commander Hardina.

“All violent or sexual crime on campus involves alcohol,” he said.

“Either the victim or the suspect had alcohol at the time of the crime.”

Sign up for emergency texts

Most students don’t check their e-mail all the time, but they probably keep their cellphone on them most of the day.

At ASU students can sign up for ASU Alert, the university’s emergency messaging system, at

“ASU Alert is used for emergencies affecting life and safety,” said Julie Newberg, an ASU spokeswoman.

“In addition, the university has added ASU Advisory, a new messaging option for incidents such as an unexpected closure of a building or small fire that occurs during off hours.”

Go to the doctor

If you do get sick, health centres offer scheduled doctor’s appointments and walk-in urgent care.

Get connected

Students who get involved in activities have less stress and homesickness, said Mr Markus.

It’s also an easy way to make new friends with similar interests.

Student organizations can be found for every religion, hobby, language and sport.

Ask for help when needed

Call 911 or the police department directly.

Many campuses also have student escort services and transportation, providing you with a safe ride or walk across campus in the evenings. Save the numbers in your phone.

Remember to clean

Dorm rooms can turn into a Petri dish very quickly. This is where students live — they study, sleep, eat and hang out all in one place.

Mom’s not there to do it and your roommate shouldn’t be the one to do it all the time. Clean your room.

Scholarship Recipients 2012