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The Aquilian

The Aquilian

    Awareness of surroundings keeps students safe

    Being+aware+of+surroundings+is+important+for+Gonzaga+students.+Shot+by+Brayden+DeVaul+
    Being aware of surroundings is important for Gonzaga students. Shot by Brayden DeVaul

    Mike Hernandez is your average Gonzaga freshman. Hernandez is on the wrestling team, quickly makes friends and loves attending school daily.  The problem is Hernandez is 5 feet 2 inches tall and 90 pounds on a good day,  and as a regular, at K Lot and an evening Metro rider, this can be a problem. 

    Washington D.C. is a beautiful city, but it most certainly has its problems. As of  Jan. 27, more than 900 cases of theft and robbery have already been recorded in the District. It is most certainly a possibility that a student like Hernandez could fall victim to theft.`

    Matthew Casler, a senior on Eye Street, says he has heard stories of students being robbed.

    “I heard many stories about muggings or people stealing from cars, but I make sure I go to the gym and always with a group of guys so nobody messes with me,” Casler said. 

    Casler also makes sure he locks his car and leaves important things out of sight. 

    Similar to Casler, Hernandez has heard stories of theft and robbery. 

    “Scary situations have happened in the past, but I am never worried,” Hernandez said.

    Student services say there have been multiple instances last year and one situation this year of aggressive acts carried out on students off campus.

     Mr. Robert Churchwell, dean of students, and campus security explained how students could prevent those situations. 

    Hernandez always makes sure he travels with a group when walking to Union Station, and Mr. Churchwell said tactics like that are crucial in keeping students safe. Mr. Churchwell, an alumnus from the class of 1990, says he always felt safe while traveling throughout the District.

    “There were always other students traveling on the students on the Metro or the bus walking to and from Gonzaga so I always felt safe,” Mr. Churchwell said.

    Mr. Churchwell also urged students “to keep their head on the swivel” while walking in D.C., and that includes taking off earbuds.  

    Earbuds, such as the popular AirPods, can make students unaware of their surroundings. As AirPods provide a closed listening environment, the user may become so immersed in the audio that they are unable to hear critical external sounds such as traffic, people calling their names, or emergency sirens. This can be particularly dangerous when the user is walking or crossing the street. 

    Campus security advises students leaving campus to leave one earbud out so they can hear what is going on around them. 

    “Students should always try to avoid situations instead of walking blindly into them,” Mr. Churchwell said. 

    When traveling off-campus students should always pay close attention to their surroundings and keep their valuables out of sight.

    “And If the worst is to come, a wallet and a couple of dollars are not worth more than your life,” Hernandez said.

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