How To Keep The Latest Generation Safe At College                             By Laura & Janet Greenwald


Spending all our time on prevention, takes attention and resources away from the very thing we know saves lives when emergencies strike – preparation.

For years we’ve been hearing about Generation X.  Now it’s time for a new generation – The Millenials. 

Born between 1980 and 2000, the Millenials take Gen X to the next degree.  They’re smarter than the previous generation, have a stronger work ethic, and are more likely to get involved in volunteerism and politics.   But no matter how smart, sophisticated or technically savvy they are, college age Millenials still have one thing in common with every other generation before them. They’re still adults in training.

So now it’s Gen M…  Actually we’d like to add one thing to that title.  Gen Mx.  In this equation, just like in algebra, x stands for the Unknown.

Think about it for a moment.   College students are in an extremely awkward position.  Let’s say they get sick or are injured while away at school and end up in the emergency room.  Since they’re not living at home anymore, they can’t count on mom and dad to be the keepers of their vital information.  In fact, when students are living away from home, that emergency room is probably halfway across the country. 

And as independent as they might feel, unlike older adults, college students don’t usually have everything that they need to deal with life’s emergencies.  They don’t have houses or safe deposit boxes where they can safely stash their vital documents.  And they don’t have a human resources department that they can call if they suddenly need details on their insurance plan.  Heck, they’re lucky if they remember their student ID and cell phone when they leave the house!

Cutting those information apron strings couldn’t have come at a worse age.  College is the very time when young adults are most likely to be experimenting with their lives by taking undue risks or not getting the rest or nutrition they need.  That makes them much more likely to be injured, or fall ill, right when they are least likely to have the vital information that a hospital would need to save their lives.

Which brings us back to the X factor – the information gap – the unknown.  With only an emergency contact card to protect them, chances are that a hospital or the student won’t have the information and medical background they would need to survive a real emergency.

And what if they don’t have that information with them when they need it?  With so many natural disasters, shootings and other emergencies striking our universities, this is a huge gap and one that could realistically cost students their lives. 

Let’s face it, when Generation M needs help, they turn to technology first.  If they can’t get the information they need on demand, from whatever electronic device is sitting in front of them, they might just decide to do without it.

Even though college age adults are technically “on their own” it’s still up to parents to make sure that they have a functioning safety net, with the tools and information they need in case of emergency, whenever they need it, wherever they are.  Not making this information accessible to your student is like giving her a brand new car but forgetting to give her the key! 

It’s up to you to give your child the tools she needs, so she can truly stand on her own two feet, secure in the knowledge that she can handle things – no matter what life brings.


Keeping your students safe isn’t up to the university, it’s up to YOU! 

Reviewing your preparation is just ONE way to keep you and your college student safe.  We have many more...

How about Grab it and Go Forms to capture your student's medical history, insurance, financial and vital documents, that can be filled out by hand, or by computer, secured and ready whenever you need them?  Or customizable emergency action plans, dorm inventory, tips, checklists and  printable wallet cards.   Check out Don't Lose All Your Stuff At College - Parent Edition.



Laura and Janet Greenwald, are the founders of The Next of Kin Education Project and Stuf Productions.  The mother & daughter team were not only instrumental in enacting three Next of Kin Laws in California and Illinois, but created the Seven Steps to Successful Notification System, which teaches quick, easy, next of kin notification skills for trauma patients to hospitals like Dallas’ Methodist Medical Center. 


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