Try this for me. The next time you sit in the library or in Smith Union doing your work and you have to go to the bathroom, or to the Café, or to dinner, do not take your books and computer with you or ask someone else to watch them for you. Just leave them where they were and go about your business.

When you come back, you will appreciate your fellow students just a little bit more than you do now.

Of course, your things will be where you left them. The fact that Bowdoin students, generally speaking, are not the thieving "type" is almost irrelevant.

Your stuff would still be there even if you left them unattended in the middle of the Colby library. Here's why: social responsibility.

By nature, humans are not passive. In a room full of people, more than a few are going to notice who left their stuff on the red chair in the corner.

If some stranger comes by and tries to walk off with that laptop, someone is going to speak up. That is not just Bowdoin. That is human.

The knowledge that people, even unconsciously, look out for one another is so ingrained in our understanding that even if, by chance, nobody is paying attention, it is a rare thief who will make a move in a crowded room.

The Mac Burglar only proves my point. He stole laptops twice. The first time, he was able to get into an otherwise empty freshman dorm, where he found a propped open door to a room where laptops had been left alone.

The second time he took a laptop from an office in Cleaveland Hall—which was empty at the time.

No laptops were stolen from busy places, none from Smith Union or the library and none from either of the dining halls.

In the real world, who keeps New York City safe? Who is out there preventing burglaries from happening rather than finding the perp after the fact? Hint, it is not the police and it is not fear of the law.

Walking down the street, you are kept safe from violence by the strangers around you. Where would you not like to see that muscular guy with the tattoos and the gold teeth? The answer: in a dark and empty alley.

There would be important secondary effects if people at Bowdoin would stop pretending like their stuff is at risk every time they go to the bathroom. It would help change people's outlooks for the better.

For many of us, the choice to attend a small liberal arts college was a reaction to the perception that we would feel anonymous at a major university.

I believe that, implicit in the desire to not be anonymous, is a desire to at least feel like you know—and can trust—those around you.

So, now you are here. Relax, open up and appreciate the fact that we are all looking out for you whether you ask us to or not.

Sam Vitello is a member of the Class of 2013.