Dear Hokies,

Congratulations on persisting through finals this week! Now that the fall semester has officially come to a close, we want to be sure that our off campus students can rest comfortably while away for the break with a few safety tips.

If you live off campus, we suggest taking the following precautions for your apartment or home:

  • Before you leave (or the last roommate departs) make sure all doors and windows are securely locked. For those on our Blacksburg campus, it is no secret that winter break runs from this week through the middle of January. It is our point of the year when the student population is the lowest. Whether you’re in Blacksburg, or beyond, double check to make sure your apartment or home is locked. 
  • If possible, take with you small items with high value.
  • While outdoor temperatures are not expected to be frigid, make sure you set your thermostat at the appropriate level to avoid pipes freezing and causing water damage.
  • Think about temporarily stopping your mail, so it can be held and delivered when you return.
  • Consider closing your blinds, so strangers can’t peek inside your apartment or home.
  • Disconnect power cords and electrical appliances that will not be in use.
  • Refer to these winter energy-saving tips from the Division of Campus Planning, Infrastructure, and Facilities.
  • If you would typically leave a spare key outside, consider leaving your spare key with a trusted neighbor for safe keeping.

Hopefully, these tips are helpful for keeping your apartment or home safe and well-maintained while you are away. If you do come home and find signs of forced entry, don’t go inside. Instead, contact the police and arrange for them to meet you before entering your property.

Take care of yourself while away, and we’ll see you in the new year!

Be well,

Byron Hughes, Ph.D.
Dean of Students

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