Drink smart. Have fun. Stay safe.

Year after year, the University of Wisconsin Madison ranks in the top 10 party schools in the nation. That may sound like fun and games but it can also lead to some serious consequences. According to the Division of Student Life,

“The easy availability of alcohol and its excessive use are issues that college campuses are struggling with every day. UW–Madison is deeply concerned about the negative consequences of high-risk drinking, for the drinker and also for friends, roommates, and classmates. Local research shows that these consequences can include disrupted sleep or studies; unplanned and unprotected sexual contact; sexual or physical violence; vandalism; or nights that end at the detoxification center.”

Tickets, illness, and injury do not have to be the norm! Realistically, lots of UW student will drink, but it doesn’t have to be dangerous. Here are three solid suggestions for doing it safely.

1. Get home safe, help others do the same.

– The 81 and 82 run until 3-3:30 a.m. Ask a friend with a smartphone to look up the schedule and nearest stop. There are lots of other campus resources for safe travels, click here to check them out.
– Call a cab.
– Don’t walk home alone at night! Always stay with friends.
– Set a limit in advance and pace yourself
– Eat before and while drinking
– Alternate alcohol with non-alcoholic beverages
– Skip the shots and avoid drinking games
– Watch out for your friends
– Plan how to get home safely
– Call 911 if there is a medical emergency

2. Know how to keep your party under control.
You and your student organization or your roommates are throwing a party/fundraiser and you want to have a good time but you also want to be safe. After all, you as the host will be responsible for everything that happens! If you plan ahead and follow these guidelines you’re more likely to have a successful (and less stressful) gathering.

– Only invite people you know and limit the number of guests.
– Secure anything you don’t want people touching or potentially using as weapons. Better yet, secure your rooms (you don’t want strangers in your bed).
– Don’t let people smoke inside, it’s a fire hazard.
– Give the option of non-alcoholic drinks.
– Stay sober throughout the party or designate at least one or two roommates to partysit!
– Keep an eye out for very intoxicated partiers (VIPS). Consider contacting police BEFORE things get out of hand.
– Walk around the house every hour or so to make sure it isn’t too noisy or to clear any lines.
– Have Safe Nighttime Services and bus routes info handy.
– Offer friends to stay the night if they’re too drunk to walk home.
– Make sure everyone leaves with a friend and has a way to get home.

3. Prevent police run-ins. Here are the top reasons for police to show up:
– Noise complaints; let your neighbors know of the party beforehand!
– Fights or disturbances
– People gathered outsides in street/driveways/porches
– Public urination or vomiting
– Destruction of public or private property or fire breaking out
– Pulling fire alarms

Click here for even more information from University Health Services.

Click here to view a full document of UW-Madison Alcohol Policy.

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