Vestal, NY (WBNG Binghamton) As the first day wraps up at Binghamton University, campus safety is on the minds of many students, especially in light of Cornell University's "high alert" status after a rash of sexual assaults over the weekend.
At BU, University Police have been working very hard to get important safety information out to both new and old students.
"Right from the start, we are always concerned about the very first month," said Lt. Madeline Bay. "It's always a dangerous month, or a risky month. Students are new here, they don't really know what's going on. They don't know who their friends are quite yet, and a lot of them, the first time away from home, they're going to say 'I can do whatever I want, I'm away from mom and dad, I might experiment a little bit.'"
With roughly 15,000 students enrolled at the university, campus safety is a big job.
Freshman student Alex Jaloza said he has felt safe from the start.
"They have people to talk to, no matter what the problem is," said Jaloza. "They gave us phone numbers to call if we ever needed help, and I felt that, at the orientation especially, they had a whole program specifically designed for helping us feel safe on campus."
This support continues as the students get settled in their dormitories.
"We work a lot with the residential life and the residence halls and other student groups," said Lt. Bay. "Our officers will go out and teach thing like self defense, personal safety, and what to do when you stop by the police."
Junior Denise Fasuyi says she enrolled in a defense class this semester.
"I just got into the rape and aggression defense class and it's good so far," said Fasuyi. "I hope to learn a lot from it."
The emergency blue-light phones are another important tool for Binghamton University students. There are over 70 phones across the campus and they are a direct line to University Police.
"I've walked down to the library at like five in the morning, three in the morning, and I've never felt like I'm in danger or anything," said Carolyn Forney, junior. "There are lots of the blue lights around to call in case you don't have a cell phone for some reason."
Another important safety tool -- the "Safe Ride" escort van.
The van drives around campus at night and will pick up anyone who does not feel safe.
5 Tips to Keep in Mind, from University Police:
1. Lock your doors.
2. Keep your stuff with you.
3. Use the buddy system.
4. Be aware.
5. Stay sober.