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A great break can be a safe break

March 25, 2010 By John Lucas

Whether they’re headed to their hometowns, to volunteer in someone else’s town, or for one last run down on the snow-covered slopes of the Rockies, UW–Madison students are spring break bound.

To make sure your return to campus is as healthy and safe as your departure, University Health Services and the Offices of the Dean of Students are offering the following tips:

Take time to recharge for the rest of the semester. Spend quality time with family and friends, replenish your body with nutritious meals and exercise, and catch up on rest and relaxation. 

If you leave Madison, lock your doors and windows. Secure valuable items such as bikes, scooters, computers and iPods.

Do your homework if you’re traveling to Mexico (or anywhere). There has been a considerable amount of publicity over the safety of travel to Mexico, according to Dean of Students Lori Berquam.

UW-Madison suggests that those planning to travel to Mexico or elsewhere protect themselves by taking time to learn about risks, ways to stay safe and where to get help from a U.S. consulate.

Common-sense precautions such as visiting only legitimate business and tourist areas during daylight hours, and avoiding areas where prostitution and drug dealing might occur can help ensure that foreign travel is safe and enjoyable. Find more information online.

  • Wherever you are, leave and come home with friends, and keep a healthy skepticism about people you’ve just met.
  • Don’t climb on balconies, and never sit on railings.  
  • If you choose to drink, decide before you go out how many drinks will be your limit, and avoid drinking games.
  • If a member of your group passes out, turn the person on their side to prevent choking and call 911 immediately.
  • Make sure your friends and relatives know where you will be and when you expect to return. Call friends or family members to let them know that you have arrived and returned safely. If you leave the country, make sure a relative in the U.S. has a copy of your passport.
  • Carry condoms.
  • Wear sunscreen of at least 15 SPF.
  • For sexual assault counseling during break, call (800) 656-HOPE, which can link you to a rape crisis service near you, if you are in the U.S.
  • Before or after break, students who are interested in talking to a counselor or getting tested for sexually transmitted diseases can call University Health Services at (608) 265-5600.
  • An on-call dean is always available for a confidential appointment in the Student Advocacy and Judicial Affairs unit of the Dean of Students Office. Call for an appointment at (608) 263-5700.