The excitement and freedom that being on a college campus brings can cause students to forget about the possible dangers of it all.
With no parental supervision, curfew, or strict rules to follow, students are destined to find themselves in some trouble if they are unaware of how to avoid it.
Sandi Schnorenberg, Director of University Security at Minnesota State University, Mankato, acknowledged that and said she was eager to share some of her insights with MNSU students.
With roughly 30 years of experience working in law enforcement for the Mankato Department of Public Safety, Schnorenberg has accumulated a plethora of tips and tricks regarding safety. However, one piece of advice she finds herself reciting time and time again is one she wants MNSU students to hear as well.
“Pay attention to your surroundings,” she says. “We often find ourselves so absorbed with what we’re doing that we neglect to see the dangers around us.”
According to Schnorenberg, staying present and highly alert in the moment is one of the surest ways to remain safe on and off campus.
“Somebody might choose to harm us or the wind may knock down a tree right where we’re standing,” she says. “Those things can happen and we’re unprepared to handle them because we’re distracted by our phones or listening to music.”
Schnorenberg says that, while out and about, having little to no distractions not only helps with alertness, but also allows for quicker reflexes if danger approaches.
“We have a greater opportunity to respond and get out of harm’s way if we’re paying attention to everything around us,” she says. “We would be unprepared and caught off guard if we were otherwise distracted.”
Fortunately for the MNSU community, Schnorenberg says the campus and the surrounding area is a safe place to be.
“Our chances of getting hurt by someone are not non-existent but they are less prevalent here than in other places,” she says.
On the occasion someone feels unsafe on campus due the threatening or harmful behavior, Schnorenberg says they can report it to University Security where a security official will decide if the incident warrants law enforcement involvement.
“We [University Security] decide if the situation presented to us is something we should handle,” she says. “There are certain incidents that we always get the police involved in, such as crime-related ones.”
According to Schnorenberg, University Security and the Mankato DPS work closely to resolve crime related incidents. However, for minor violations, University Security leaves it up to the student to decide if they would like to get law enforcement involved.
“We have a great place here and encounter very few serious incidents,” she says. “When we do encounter one, we have a great relationship with Mankato DPS who work with us to maintain the safety of our community.”