Mariah Mahaffey has never taken a sip of alcohol.
A senior in the Bloch School of Business, Mahaffey says that even though she has been given the chance to drink many times, she has never taken anyone up on the opportunity.
“Prior to being 21, I chose not to go out with friends,” said Mahaffey. “I am a huge rule stickler and have always been afraid of getting in trouble, it didn’t seem worth risking for the consequences I could possibly face.”
Mahaffey avoided drinking alcohol because she always wants to remain in control of her own body, but also because of the other dangers that go along with a night out on the town, whether that be harm from intoxication or from someone else that is out drinking.
“I think I would feel most comfortable at a concert, like the one’s hosted by Power & Light during the summer because during a concert there is more to focus on than just alcohol,” said Mahaffey.
Cassie Yeckel, a UMKC senior in Communication Studies, is also aware of what going out for the night can entail. She says she has felt unsafe at times while out with friends.
“I think the experience for UMKC students, women at least, can feel more unsafe because of the high assault rates that are found in a more populated area,” said Yeckel.
Other students, including Anthony Arens, recognize that going to school at a metropolitan university is a very different experience than attending school in a more typical college town.
“I think going out at UMKC is a big difference because it isn’t a college town, so you aren’t going out with just kids from your school. It’s people from all across Kansas City,” said Arens.
Meridith Masters, a senior in UMKC’s nursing program, says that she is often alert and conscious of her surroundings while out at night, even when she’s on campus.
“Walking around alone on campus at night can be dangerous, or at least feel pretty intimidating,” said Masters. “I really don’t look down at my phone so I remain aware of what’s going on around me, and I know not to be too trusting or naïve when I’m out.”
Whether they take precautions like Masters or Mahaffey, many UMKC students are aware that going to school in an urban environment like Kansas City is different from other college experiences, and know that safety is something that they need to consider.
The University of Missouri system and the UMKC Police do have precautions in place that include the Mass Notification System and the Timely Warning Policy that are all laid out in the yearly Campus Crime and Fire Safety report that is made available to students and faculty.
In the same report, UMKC Police provide tips for students to prevent crime.
Some of their suggestions include that students walk in groups of at least two at night and to stay on the main walkways, remain aware of your surroundings. The UMKC police also suggest students “stay in control” by not letting alcohol or other substances put them in danger. They also emphasize that students should not hesitate when it comes to calling for help from the police when confronted.
Do you have any tips for staying safe during a night on the town? Share them with us on twitter at @University0News.