For many of us, college represents a major step toward adulthood. As we grapple with life changes and academic life we may find ourselves taking on additional risks in order to cope with increased academic, social, emotional and financial pressures. Knowing how to take care of ourselves and look out for each other can make all the difference in creating a positive college experience for everyone.
Here are a few ways to look out for yourself and each other throughout your time at CU.
Don’t ignore it
Trust your instincts. If something feels wrong, it probably is. Learning how to identify risky or concerning behaviors is an important first step in helping us address and respond to different situations.
Here are some experiences and situations you should never ignore:
Mental Health Concerns
Someone may be experiencing a mental health crisis if they are having thoughts of seriously harming themselves or others, are hearing voices nobody else can hear, have recently experienced loss or trauma, believe their life is in danger or are exhibiting other concerning behaviors.
Alcohol- and drug-related emergencies
Signs of an overdose include pinpoint (small) pupils, shallow or no breathing, blue/grayish lips or fingertips, unresponsive or heavy gurgling/wheezing/snoring sounds.
Experiences of bias or discrimination
Bias and discrimination can include behavior, speech or expressions that are directed toward someone based on their perceived identity (race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, disability, etc.). Biased speech also includes microaggressions.
Hazing includes any activity expected of someone when joining a group that humiliates, degrades or risks emotional and/or physical harm, regardless of a person’s willingness to participate.
Harassment includes behaviors that are offensive or that make a person feel threatened, intimidated or humiliated. This includes ongoing and one-time incidents.
Unwanted sexual behavior
Sexual misconduct is a broad term that includes any non-consensual or unwelcome sexual behaviors, including assault, touching, harassment, exploitation, intimidation and solicitation.
Stalking is any pattern of unwanted behaviors directed at a specific person that causes that person to feel fear and/or change their daily routines. Stalking behaviors can include texting, gift-giving, showing up “coincidentally”, spreading misinformation about a person, etc.
Intimate partner abuse
Abusive behaviors can be inflicted by a romantic or intimate partner in order to control a present or former partner, including physical, emotional, financial, sexual or reproductive abuse.
Other forms of misconduct
Additional forms of misconduct include violence, vandalism, concerning comments (online and in real life), conduct violations, law-breaking and other distressing behaviors.
Taking care of ourselves often means practicing healthy habits. There are a variety of strategies and habits you can use to keep yourself and others safe. Here are a few to keep in mind:
Call for help
We may encounter an emergency situation at some point in our lives, and calling for help right away can help ensure everyone makes it home safely.
If you’re concerned about a friend, roommate, classmate or someone else on campus, reach out to see if they need support. We all struggle sometimes, and just having someone reach out to check-in can make a huge difference. Check out the resources below to find support for yourself or someone you know.
Campus resources and support
OVA provides free and confidential information, consultation, support, advocacy and short-term counseling services to CU Boulder students, faculty and staff who have experienced a traumatic, disturbing or life-disruptive event. To speak with an advocacy counselor, call 303-492-8855 (24/7 support available).
CAPS offers confidential mental health and psychiatric services for a variety of concerns such as academics, anxiety, body image, depression, relationships, substance use and more. CAPS works with students individually to create personalized treatment plans that may include a combination of workshops, group therapy, individual therapy, community referrals or other services.
Health Promotion offers a variety of wellness programs for CU Boulder students, including classes, events, workshops and more. Students can also meet with a Peer Wellness Coach to help set and achieve their wellness goals.
The CUCRC provides meetings and support groups, recovery-focused housing, events and activities, peer support and more for students in recovery or interested in pursuing recovery from drugs, alcohol, eating disorders, self-harm, other addictions and unwanted behaviors.
OIEC helps implement and enforce university policies around bias, discrimination, sexual misconduct, intimate partner abuse, stalking and other unwelcome behaviors. If you or someone you know in the CU community has been impacted, reports can be filed online. Individuals can also report something anonymously to OIEC.
Don't Ignore It is a free online resource to help students, staff, faculty and community members navigate reporting options and get help for themselves or others. If it feels wrong, it probably is. Don't ignore it.
The Rec can help you stay safe and healthy by offering a variety of services, including self defense classes, flu shots, physical therapy, injury care and prevention and more.
Health Promotion offers a variety of classes that support students as they reflect on their relationship with alcohol and other substance use.
Health and Wellness Services offers a number of free trainings that can help prepare you for a variety of situations like addressing mental health crises, having important conversations, supporting a friend through trauma and more.
CU Boulder students, staff and faculty have free access to the mobile safety app, Guardian. This app allows you to notify people when you are out and about, so that friends or family know if you have arrived safely at your destination or if they need to call for help.