College Campus Crime Prevention Tips

In just one week there have been four incidents of college students being held up and robbed on or near their college campus in Atlanta, GA. The very next week near another Atlanta campus, four students were hijacked at gun point. The robbers stole their wallets, jewelry, cell phones and ATM cards, locked them in the trunk and proceeded to a nearby ATM. I’m sure the intent was to force the young men to give them their pin numbers. However, one of the victims had secretly kept his cell phone on him and was able to dial 911. The robbers were arrested at the ATM machine and the victims escaped unharmed.

In March, a female student on a college campus in western Georgia was sexually assaulted as she walked from a classroom to a food hall. She was walking on a well lit, well traveled path at dusk.

Are these isolated incidents? Does there seem to be a rash of crimes on Georgia college campuses? No! I just happen to live in Georgia and hear the news reports about our colleges. It happens at all colleges in all states. A friend’s daughter reported three separate robberies that occurred in her campus housing parking lot. Her first year, three rapes were reported on campus; one of the “safest” colleges in Florida. However, when your sons or daughters are looking at colleges to attend, you never hear about these reports. They want your business; crimes on campus do not help business. Matter of fact most are handled by on-campus security and therefore not reported to the public except in some well hidden statistics.

In the U.S. Department of Education, the FBI and U.S. Secret Service research report “Campus Attacks – Targeted Violence Affecting Institutions of Higher Learning”, incidents of college campus violence has dramatically increased in the past twenty years. The report shows that one-in-five women who attend college will be the victim of a sexual assault during her four years on campus.

Many campuses are taking more security precautions such as providing transportation for students late at night and offering self defense courses on campus. There are steps that students can take to protect themselves, including the following:

1. Never accept rides from someone you don’t know or trust.
2. Know where emergency phones on campus are located.
3. Walk on well lit paths and avoid short cuts, especially at night.
4. Travel with a friend or group especially at night and definitely when walking at night.
5. At social events, drink only from sealed containers, avoid punch bowls. If you leave your drink for any amount of time unattended, don’t drink it. Throw it away and get a new drink. Never accept an opened drink from someone you don’t know or trust.
6. Avoid using ATM’s at night or when alone.
7. Attend a self-defense course.
8. Carry some type of non-lethal, self-defense product when you are alone or at night, and have it easily accessible. Products such as pepper sprays and stun guns are inexpensive and can save your life.
9. Always carry a cell phone. But, remember, a cell phone won’t help you stop a criminal. By the time someone you alert arrives, it may be too late. Use the cell phone to call for help after you have pepper sprayed or stunned the perpetrator and have run far away from them. A pepper spray containing dye can help the police identify the criminal. Have the campus police number programmed into your phone. Consider the new iPhone application “SilentBodyguard”. It notifies up to four different people that you are in a dangerous situation and sends and resends your exact GPS location every 60 seconds when activated.
10. Call campus police anytime you notice anything or anyone who appears suspicious.
11. Keep your dorm or apartment locked and don’t share your keys with anyone or open the door for someone you don’t know. Use a peep hole to view who is at the door before opening it.
12. Use some type of door alarm on your doors at night or when alone. Alarms such as an alarm that hangs on your door knob and is activated by motion or a door stop wedge with an alarm cost under $20.00 and will alert you if anyone attempts to open your door.
13. When walking or running, if you wear earphones to listen to music, keep one ear free so you can hear what is going on around you. Carry a pepper spray or “Hotwalkers” (dumbbells with pepper spray built into the end).
14. Do not allow an assailant to take you away in a car or otherwise move you. If he does you will have no way to call for help and you have less than a 50% chance of surviving. Kick, scream, and use a whistle, pepper spray, stun gun or whatever you have to protect yourself.
15. If you receive inappropriate to threatening telephone calls, text messages or emails, report it to campus police.
16. Be aware of your surroundings at all times in all places. Always have an “escape route” especially in locations such as parties, bars and concert areas.
17. Be sure someone knows where you are. If you don’t plan to be gone all night or over the weekend, be sure to have someone check on you and you do the same for them.
18. Don’t abuse alcohol or drugs. Most people know that alcohol or drug use can contribute to the probability of becoming a victim by impairing judgment and making you less aware of your surroundings. Each year over 1,700 college students die due to some type of alcohol related incident, many more are injured or become victims of date rape.

While college is a time for young people to become more independent and self reliant, it is still the parents’ responsibility to prepare you child for this new and potentially threatening environment. Talk to them about the risks, give them the information how to protect themselves, and most importantly give them the tools ( non-lethal self-defense products) that can truly protect them if they become a victim.

The Power Of Free For Your Email Marketing Campaign

Never mind the “there’s no such thing as a free lunch” paradigm of Milton Friedman, give your audience something free to help you get something from them. Don’t underestimate the power of free for your email marketing campaign. It is much easier to get someone to sign up for something if they are getting something in return. You can offer a complimentary guide, document, or video – basically whatever you can make quickly and easily in return for another name to your list.  If you offer something for free, you will offer get something back.

In the case of affiliate marketing, you can start an email marketing campaign with a form that says something like “receive your FREE training guide”, and have the person fill out a form using his or her name and email address. It is much easier to get someone to give up their information in exchange for something. Plainly asking for a name and email for the ubiquitous newsletter does not work as well. Immediately make it known that your viewer will get something.

People love free stuff.  Use the power of free for your email marketing campaign. I remember my first week in college: Each and every student organization and group on campus could not say the word “free” enough: free food, free pizza, free entertainment, etc., etc. It is such a simple word that carries so much power that you must use it to your advantage. What about a baseball game? Sign up for a credit card (that you may or may not actually activate, but the credit card company will be happy to oblige if would want to), and get a free towel! The credit card companies are not giving away free towels for their entertainment – they want you to sign up and activate a new credit card.

It also looks good for the new viewer to your blog that you are giving something away for free (in exchange for the email address, of course). It makes your website and online business look more polished if you offer something to the public at large. Offering a newsletter is one of those things that makes your business look like something has really put a concerted effort into running it.

I recommend everyone go out and start an email marketing campaign. Perhaps you want to wait to get a little more traffic, or wait until your affiliate marketing campaign can pay for the campaign, but everyone needs to utilize email marketing to really make money. And how to get people to sign up? Remember the power of free.

Fifteen Things That You Can Do to Green Your School Campus

Every one of us has the ability to make a difference on our child’s school campus by making a few easy changes to school policies and practices. This is a wonderful opportunity to have a positive impact on your environment, your community, your school and your child. Here are fifteen things that you can do to make changes at your own child’s school this year.

Start by creating a policy that at all school events, plates, cups and glasses must be either reusable or compostable. Be clear that disposable plastic and Styrofoam are no longer allowed to be used anywhere on campus. Provide information about where to buy compostables so that people are able to easily make this change. Here are a few options that I would recommend:

Fabri-Kal Greenware
Arrow Tableware
Nature Friendly Products
World Centric Biocompostables
Green Logic

At lunch and at larger gatherings, be sure that condiments and things like butter and cream cheese are purchased in bulk rather than individual servings. I just participated in a large waste audit where we had to pick through literally hundreds of tiny foil butter wrappers that were scattered throughout the food scraps and compostable tableware, all items that were on their way to giant windrows to be composted. If those wrappers had not been removed, they would have ruined the entire batch of compostable material. Imagine how much more difficult this would have been if there had been ketchup and mustard packets too!

Have well labeled recycling/composting bins throughout the campus with clear signage indicating what goes where in order to help both direct waste flow and to educate the children about what can and cannot be recycled/composted.

Conduct waste audits with each grade so that the children can see what happens when a whole school throws things away for a whole day. Weigh each type of waste to see how much of each there is and brainstorm about ways to reduce campus waste. This process will be very educational for the children and they may have some good ideas about the ways that they can help to be a part of the solution.

Encourage the copy room staff to print double sided copies whenever possible and request that they use 100% post-consumer recycled paper that is processed chlorine free.

Consider instituting a “Pack in Pack out” policy where anything brought from home for snacks and lunches either gets eaten or returned home. This allows parents to see what their children are and aren’t eating and also significantly decreases the amount of trash and recycling that the school must pay to have hauled each year.

Ask your school board to stop using water bottles if they are using them. In order to set an example, have them bring their own reusable cups and a pitcher of filtered water. Leadership starts at the top and if our school’s leaders are setting a good example, parents, staff and faculty will note it. This will trickle down to the students as well.

Host a Zero Waste Sustainability Event to create awareness and educate parents and teachers. Incorporate a chance to network, offer incentives such as prizes for those who choose carpooling in order to limit the amount of driven trips to school.

Make sure green cleaning products and practices are used everyday to ensure a healthy and hospitable environment for your child. Create a purchasing policy that states that all cleaning products purchased by the school must be green and non-toxic in order to protect your child from hazardous toxic chemicals.

Make sure energy saving features are enabled on all computers in the school, so that they go into sleep or hibernation when no one is using them instead of displaying a screensaver. This simple setting change makes the computer use much less electricity, saving money and greenhouse gas emissions

Pack your child’s lunch in a lunch box or some other reusable container instead of a disposable paper bag. Don’t stop there – put the food reusable containers as well instead of baggies, and use a Thermos or other reusable drinks bottle instead of a juice box or disposable milk carton.

When buying new furniture or equipment, look for products that have credible green product certifications such as Energy Star, Green Seal, Forest Stewardship Council, and Ecologo.

Post reminders next to all light switches reminding people to turn off the lights when they leave the room.

Make a policy asking students, faculty, and staff to unnplug televisions, computers, microwaves, and any device that is not being used. This stops devices from drawing electricity even when they’re turned off or in standby.

Push to prohibit electric space heaters. They use up to $1000 in electricity every year, increase cooling costs, and are a significant fire hazard.

Utilizing these simple and logical green solutions, you can create a sustainable foundation for environmental responsibility at your child’s school. Not only will you be directly contributing to an effort of sustainability, but also creating awareness and educating the leaders of tomorrow.

By Merryl Brown, President, Merryl Brown Events