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March 16, 2013

Frequently Asked Questions Series: Safety

So I’ve recently gotten several emails from prospective students that have all hovered around the same sort of topics. I figure, if everyone is asking the same questions I might as well just address them openly here on my blog. In my next couple posts I’ll probably focus on a couple FAQs.

“So, I’ve heard that the area that Clark is in isn’t very safe. How do you feel about this?”

As a perspective student this is definitely a difficult question to figure out on your own, especially when you are not too familiar with Worcester. Just like Boston and New York, Worcester is an urban area that has had its share of urban problems. I’m not sure if you’ve visited Clark or not, but it’s located in a neighborhood called main south. Main South is a low-income area of Worcester which over the years has definitely had its fair share of crime. With that in mind, there are a number of resources available on and off campus to help make students feel safe. We get “timely warning” emails every now and again from University police that let us know about incidents that have happened. Mostly students walking by themselves at night, off campus, who have been asked to hand over their wallets/phones/ipods
ect. I’m not trying to scare you by saying this, this is just honestly what happens.

I will say that I have never felt unsafe walking ON campus at any time of day or night. This is due to how well lit campus is, university police, and the whole blue light system. I live off campus now and during the day I don’t feel unsafe walking around Worcester. At night I use Clark’s escort service when I’m trying to get somewhere by myself like to a friends apartment. Escort is a student-run van safety service. I call escort, they’ll give me a wait time (usually like 5 to 15 minutes, sometimes like 20 depending on busy it is) and they pick me up and take me where I want to go within a quarter mile radius of Clark. In my experience sometimes that distance can be negotiated further though…. Escort runs from 4pm to 4am, 7 days a week. When I lived on campus, I mostly used escort to get groceries or if the
weather was really bad outside. I don’t feel unsafe walking with friends at night, I just won’t walk around alone; it’s not smart or safe.

START on the Street! The largest art and music festival in Central Massachusetts!

To be honest, I’ve really loved main south, and other Worcester neighborhoods.  There are a ton of great restaurants, bars, clubs, parks, concerts, and festivals, especially in the fall. There are a lot of hidden gems to find; sometimes you’ve just got to have the will and enthusiasm to find them. It’s a smaller city, but for me that made it an easier adjustment. I’m from a super small town in Maine so to start off college in an urban area involved a bit of learning and a lot of exploring. Becoming street smart and learning how to live in an urban area has been a second education that I’ve really appreciated. This is just one Clarkie’s opinion on safety. If you come to visit campus, definitely ask about this. It’s always good to get a lot of opinions!

Also, keep the emails coming! I actually love answering questions about Clark, plus it provides some nice procrastination from my actual homework/thesis…. AND I can always use some good blogging inspiration so if you have a topic you’d like me to write about please, oh please let me know! khorigan@clarku.edu

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