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Hannah Graham Case Sparks Change in Student Behavior

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -

The Hannah Graham case has sparked change at the University of Virginia. Administration has already launched several safety initiatives, but now students say they are changing their habits.

Some students say they are taking matters into their own hands in an effort to protect themselves and their friends.

"Since recent events, my roommates and I think it's really important to always walk together at night,” said UVA student Natalie Geleta.

If they can't be together, many friends have started text message groups to alert each other when they arrive at their destination. And it's not just roommates looking out for each other.

“The day after it happened, I had a class until 10 p.m. and the professor actually assigned people to walk each of us home,” said UVA student Mayura Iyer.

Outside the classroom, fraternities and sororities say they're feeling it too.

"I'd say we're looking out for girls a lot more often when we have parties. For example, we just had a presentation two nights ago where a sorority girl came in and talked about the importance of the bystander effect,” said Will Crimmins, UVA student and member of a fraternity.

But even with increased awareness at the university, not everyone is making new habits to stay safe. Some students say there needs to be a change in mindset.

Students like Lindsey Jones believe the UVA community as a whole could do more to keep each other safe.

"Because I remember walking home from the library a couple days after she disappeared and still seeing dozens of girls walking home by themselves and it just made me really angry that people weren't changing as much as needs to be changed,” Jones said.

In addition to the “buddy system,” UVA administration encourages all students to take advantage of safe transportation alternatives already in place, such as Safe Ride, Yellow Taxi and the University Transit Service.