Frosh Week. I can almost still conjure that heavy smell of potential and fear, with a hint of cheap alcohol, that inhabits campus in that first week. Hopefully you meet some of the people you will spend the next four years with, get to know the city a bit and finally be able to party free from the supervision of your parents for the first time. But then what?
While how to avoid that freshman fifteen (twenty-five), how to avoid calling your professor “mom” or “dad” in class and maybe even how to do well in class . . . (gasp!) are all important and relevant issues, they all fall secondary, I believe and I think you might agree, to your safety while at Dal.
Safety?! Boring as heck I know, but stay with me. It turns out, the combination of newly parentally liberated and horny youth all crammed on to one fairly small campus can actually lead to some sticky, not – so – safe situations. You may think an article about campus safety is superfluous to someone who has successfully made it through the first 19 years of life relatively unscathed, but believe me, herein lie some tips for safety conscious, lazy and pocket pinching students alike.
The first, most simple, and arguably most important way in which to contribute to a safe campus is for everyone do his or her part to understand and practice consent. Now I know you are all probably thinking “duh” but I mention this because unfortunately, over my 3ish years at Dal I have noticed that the school has had a tumultuous relationship with consent.
But fear not, the concept of consent is easier to understand than spotting sweatpants at the Killam during exams and though I will not further elaborate here, if you somehow don’t know what consent is enlightenment is that the tip of your search engine. Enjoy. Seriously, Please.
If you have ever heard anything about university ever, I’m sure “drinking culture” has a familiar ring to it. Former Risley RA, Alaura Moore identifies heavy drinking as the most frequent and impactful problem on campus.
“A lot of students don’t know their limits when they start drinking and instead of pacing themselves, they drink too quickly and it hits them all at once,” says Moore.
Moore says that over recent years she ran a program including trivia on alcohol and it’s effects. As an alternative to drinking, Dal also offers “Dal after Dark” on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays. This program is designed to offer cheap or free entertainment for students who don’t necessarily want to party. Events have included hikes, sculpture classes, movie and yoga nights.
Though there are lots of options for students looking for an alternative to drinking, staff also recognize that students will inevitably be partying and consequently try to encourage an open dialogue around the issue.
“This year we actually had residents keep a tally with a marker on their hand so if an RA found them they knew (how much they had consumed) and reminded them to keep an eye out on their friends or come talk to an RA if they are worried about something or someone” says Moore. “The number of times I have had students ask me to take a drink from their friends is surprising.”
Dal has a number of other policies and services to help students remain safe while at school. They can be accessed on their website or communicated by Dal staff, like RA’s, and are all worth checking out.
The most luxurious of these services in my humble opinion, is Tiger Patrol. Tiger Patrol is a personal favourite of mine because it is not only one of the safest ways to get around campus but it is easy, and requires almost no effort to use and suits a student “ramen 3 times a day” budget. That’s right . . . FREE.
Basically the service provides a student-run taxi for Dal students by calling (902) 499-1831 or (902) 718-9908. Tiger Patrol has saved many a lost soul from the howling off-the-water winds of downtown to the victims of donair comatose on Quinpool road. Tiger Patrol is free, easy and safe.
The only other advice I can offer about this is, like all other great gifts bestowed upon mankind, use it, don’t abuse it. Just go pick up the pizza yourself.