Safety: Play safe and be more than just book-smart on campus

Emily Kaht and Emily Kaht

Overall, Northwestern is a safe campus. But there are crimes, and it is important for students to be aware of basic safety guidelines.

Most are common-sense rules you have heard before: avoid walking at night and, if you can’t, travel with a group of people and stick to well-lit areas. Pay attention to your surroundings and appear confident and alert (don’t listen to your iPod). Follow your instincts; if you have a feeling that something isn’t right, get out of the situation.

Here are some NU-specific tips that can help you navigate Evanston safely.


At night, NU offers SafeRide, a free taxi service for students who feel uncomfortable walking to a destination. SafeRide can pick you up anywhere on campus and certain parts of Evanston. To see the full coverage range, visit their website, However, the wait times for SafeRide can be lengthy, so it is good to know the other options for traveling safely at night.


Besides SafeRide, NU also offers several shuttles that are free to anyone who presents a WildCARD. The Evanston Loop shuttle makes several stops on campus and throughout Evanston, and the Campus Loop shuttle circles around campus every 15 minutes, making stops at key points. For full details on schedules and stops, see the website, It is handy to print out the schedule and keep it with you so that if you find yourself alone at night, you can see where and when the nearest stop is. The website also features a shuttle tracker, allowing you to see where on the route a given shuttle is.

Blue-light emergency phones

Another safety feature of NU’s campus is the blue-light emergency phones. These phones are stationed all over campus, and if you observe suspicious activity or feel uncomfortable with a situation, you can press the button on the light and the police will automatically be connected to you.

Important numbers

To be prepared for a situation in which you might require assistance, it is crucial to stock your cell phone with useful numbers. In your dorm building, your CAs’ cell numbers should be displayed prominently, as well as the CA On Duty number. Put all of these numbers in your cell phone, as well as the SafeRide number (847-491-7000) and the University Police number (847-491-3456) so that if you need help, it will be easy to get in contact with the right people.

Defense training

UP also periodically offers Rape Aggression Defense training for women. These classes are free, but participants must register online through the UP website.

Looking out for each other

Finally, and most importantly, look out for your fellow Wildcats. Help your friends make good choices, and take care of them when they don’t. Recently, NU started the Responsible Action Protocol, which states that if a student needs medical help for an alcohol-related incident and other students call for that help, those students may get in less trouble for coming forward.

Follow these tips, and you will have a safe and happy school year at NU.

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