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UW-Madison Campus Safety: What You Need to Know

Walking along dimly lit roads in the wee hours of the night can be a little freaky in Madison, especially in light of recent events. While being conscious of where and when you’re walking is crucial, it’s also important to have a plan of action if a situation were to come up. Read on for a list of strategies to help you feel safer on campus!

1. Learn the basics of Self Defense

There are plenty of people who feel confident in their ability to take on a dangerous person if a situation were to arise, but many others would not know how to react. Either way, it’s a great idea to brush up on those self-defense skills — even if it’s just to learn the basics. You’ll feel more confident walking on your own with knowledge of the best ways to deal with a variety of situations.  

Check out some opportunities in the Madison Area:

  • Aikijujitsu Club – This UW student org is dedicated to teaching self-defense to all ages, genders and body types.
  • Villari’s Martial Arts Cooperative – With classes in martial arts, fitness and self-defense, this spot is perfect for learning the basics. It is also conveniently located right on State Street.

2. Campus Safety Programs: know about them and use them!

Being knowledgeable about the many on-campus resources dedicated to staying safe is really important! Having these support systems available will make you feel just that little bit more secure. Plus, there are so many ways to get involved and help make your community safer.

  • SAFEwalk –  You can request a safe-walker to travel with you throughout campus from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. if you’re feeling a little uneasy. These walkers are trained by UWPD. It can’t hurt to save their number into your contacts, just in case.  
  • WiscGuardian – This innovative new app makes a safety device out of your cell phone through a “Guardian Network.” The guardians you pick will know when you leave your location, when you safely reach your destination and when your commute takes longer than predicted. It will notify your guardians if it feels like something may have happened.
  • Badger Watch – This program allows the UWPD and the Madison community to work together on campus safety. They encourage people to volunteer and help out by being an extra set of “eyes and ears” on campus.

3. Other Tips

  • Sign up for Wisc-alerts so you’re completely aware of what’s happening on campus.
  • If you feel really uneasy while walking, call a friend! You’ll feel a lot better knowing someone knows where you are and whether or not you’ve arrived home safely. Not to mention, it’s comforting just to talk to another person and hear their voice.
  • For more tips and information, check out these tips on how to stay vigilant from the UWPD.


Try to have a buddy with you when you’re walking around campus, and make sure you keep your eyes and ears open. It never hurts to be too cautious — take the necessary measures to keep yourself safe.

Cate Wilkinson

Wisconsin '20

Cate graduated from UW - Madison in May 2020 with a degree in Microbiology with a certificate in French. She is very passionate about health, wellness, sustainability and communication about these topics!
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