News of IU student Lauren Spierer’s disappearance quickly spread across the Internet this week as more and more people spread the word through social media.

The story has hit so close to home because what happened to Lauren could happen to anyone. Sometimes we forget – as young 20-somethings – that bad things can happen to good people. Imagine if this was your sister, your best friend or your girlfriend that had gone missing – your world would be in shambles.

I think most of us forget that we all have a responsibility to each other as brothers and sisters in Christ to look out for one another. There are going to be times when we can potentially be in unsafe situations, but each and every one of us has a duty to keep an eye out and reach out to others when they are in need.

Someone had to have seen Lauren disappear – or saw something unusual and failed to report it. A young woman does not just vanish into thin air.

There’s no telling how many people passed her walking alone and thought nothing of it. Although the details of her disappearance are still unknown, it troubles me that no one saw this young woman  and offered to help her get home safely.

There have been times when I have seen girls my age walking alone from bars late at night, and I’ve thought nothing of it. It’s cases like Lauren’s that make me realize I should lend a hand more often.

Although all of us can’t jump on a plane to Bloomington and assist in the search, there are still many things we can do to help.

First, spread the word about her disappearance through Facebook and Twitter. Help network and learn news about her case through the Facebook and Twitter accounts that have been created for her. The more hands on deck to help, the better.

Secondly, help your fellow college students out – especially young women. It does not take that much effort to give someone a ride to their apartment or make sure they get to their destination safely. Even if you don’t feel brave enough to approach the person directly, call the non-emergency police number and tell them what you’ve seen.

We all must take more accountability for our actions and how they affect the world around us. What you do as an individual has an impact, whether you want it to or not. The sooner we realize the individuals around us are real people with mothers, fathers, friends and families instead of just faces, the more sympathetic and helpful we will be.

It’s a tragedy that we all have to learn these lessons the hard way. It’s horrible that the family and friends of Lauren are searching for her. But maybe – just maybe – if all of us can do our part and help each other out, we can prevent more young people from being put in dangerous situations.

A flier posted on the @NewsOnLaurenS Twitter account

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