For most incoming college freshmen, partying is inevitable. Partying allows freshman to meet new people, feel “cool” and to experience something new and exciting.
However, partying can also leave young, inexperienced students vulnerable to be assaulted, arrested or seriously injured.
“I would probably just say, ‘don’t party at all’,” said Officer Eric Dreger of the City of Kent Police Department.
Michquel Penn, Kent State community resource officer, cautioned that partying can hurt a student’s future.
“No one should have anything put on their record their first semester of college,” she said.
But for those who find themselves partying during their college years, there are a few suggested safety tips to follow in order to party smart.
Find a way to make it home safe
“My number one piece of advice is use the buddy system,” said Penn. “Walk to the party with a group of friends, watch out for each other while you are there and then make sure you leave together.”
Penn said it isn’t necessary for every member of the group to be glued to the hip and huddled in a corner, but being aware and making sure members of the group don’t disappear would be a safe move.
“Taxis are a safe way to get home if you have been drinking,” Penn said. “I keep seeing more and more taxi services popping up.”
The Kent State University Police Department also has a campus escort service that runs from 8 p.m. until 4 a.m. The escort service is provided by resident services and campus security aids.
“The campus escort service will only walk you to somewhere on campus,” Penn said. “If you are off campus and find yourself alone, call a friend. Or, in a real emergency, call the police and they can help you to the nearest police station.”
Keeping cell phones charged is always important to safety as well, Penn said. Taking precautions while out partying is exercising responsibility.
Know your limits
Another safety precaution to take when partying is to know your limits, Penn said–especially if you are a non-drinker; drinking for the first time can be dangerous. Excessive consumption of alcohol can give a person alcohol-poisoning, cause a person to blackout and/or make people do things they normally wouldn’t do, Penn said.
“When men consume excessive amounts of alcohol, we see that they tend to get into fights,” Penn said. “Fighting can lead to being arrested and getting seriously injured. Sometimes they even die of injuries due to fist fighting.”
Another way students can harm themselves while partying is mixing prescription medication with alcohol.
“Sometimes students forget they are taking prescription medication, and they will drink,” Penn said. “Alcohol can intensify the effects of the drugs and it could turn into abuse of the medication.”
Rowan University put out a “Party Responsibility” flyer to help students stay safe. Eating a meal before going to a party, having cash and copies of important phone numbers in case of an emergency and having a code word to signal when someone might be in trouble are a few of the safety suggestions.
Watch your drink
Another party safety tip to live by is commonly known: don’t leave your drink unattended.
“Some students think that no one uses date rape drugs anymore,” Penn said. “But these drugs are very real and very much in use. You can even get some over-the-counter medicine that will achieve the same effects.”
Even if a guy offers a girl a drink, the girl shouldn’t take it, Penn said.
“If you have to go to the bathroom or you want to go to the dance floor, give your drink to your friend,” she said. “Then if you still aren’t sure, just get a fresh drink and leave the old one.”
1. Drinking inside the dorms:
“Security aids patrol the streets and dorm halls. If the door is open and they see open containers, you could get into trouble,” Penn said.
A policy violation would be issued to students 21 or older if caught drinking in a dorm where alcohol is prohibited. “Students under the age of 21 would receive a summons in lieu of arrest,” Penn said. “The student would not be taken to the station and put through the booking process, but it would still show up on their record as an arrest.” The security aids will investigate a dorm room if there has been a noise complaint or if they see open containers. If the door isn’t open and no one opens it, the security aids will have a resident adviser open it for them.
2. Having a fake I.D:
If students use fake identification to enter a bar and/or to buy alcohol, they could be arrested. “If a bartender, or whoever, recognizes a fake I.D., they can hold the person at the bar until the police get there,” Penn said. If caught with a fake I.D., a person could face first-degree misdemeanor charges.
3. Public Intoxication:
If students find themselves too drunk to drive and do not find another way home, walking around drunk could get them arrested. “If a person is not able to care for themselves, causing a public disturbance or putting others in danger, they could be arrested for public intoxication,” Penn said.
Theft is very common during parties, Penn said. People steal when the other members of the house or dorm are distracted. Even if the person who is stealing does not go to Kent, he or she could still get caught and arrested. “Remember to lock your doors and keep your valuables safe,” Penn said.
5. Walking around with alcohol in hand:
Students who choose to walk home with alcohol in their hands are also subject to arrest. “If you have one of those red Solo cups in your hands and you are stumbling around acting drunk, you just gave an officer probable cause to look in the cup,” Penn said. “We know that’s probably not Kool- Aid in there.”