Five Ways to Plan a Fun, Safe Party

With the first Husker game of the season quickly approaching, you may be considering hosting a party or tailgating with friends to watch the game or celebrate.

Parties and tailgating can be fun – until they get out of hand. When red cups litter the lawn, cars block driveways or the street, and shrubbery becomes a toilet, it’s gone way too far.

There are steps you can take as a party or tailgating host to help things go well. Follow these five steps to avoid problems at informal get-togethers.

1. Make a plan, follow the plan, and let others know the plan

Making a plan is the most important step, and it doesn’t have to take long or happen far in advance. Answering the following questions will help you create the event you want.

  • How many guests do you want to attend?
  • What types of food and non-alcoholic beverages will you provide?
  • What do you want to do together?
  • What problems do you want to avoid?
  • What will make the event a success in your mind?

Once you’ve created the plan, it’s important to stick to it. Be sure to let everyone know what type of event it will be so they know what to expect. Tell your neighbors and your landlord about your plan. They may be able to help you create the most successful plan.

If the home you plan to use for a party is not your own, know that you’re still liable for any issues, property damage, and could be cited for a disorderly house if things go awry.

2. If alcohol will be present, control it

There’s a reason why bars have bartenders and not open spigots or bottles, and it’s not just so they can make money. Having someone behind the bar, whether it’s a third-party vendor/bartender or someone who is at least 21, helps you control the amount of booze people drink, keep drinking to individuals above the age of 21, and sets the tone for the role of alcohol in the party.

More importantly, it keeps the very small percentage of students who don’t know their limits from getting wasted on your alcohol. An alternative, especially for informal parties, is to have guests who are 21 bring—and drink—their own alcohol where permitted.

After all, if a guest under the age of 21 drinks too much and causes harm to someone, as the social host you could be liable, too.

Remember that your student organization, sport club, fraternity or sorority cannot purchase alcohol with organization funds. This includes any funds serviced through Student Organization Financial Services (SOFS).

3. Make the party about more than getting drunk

There’s got to be something more than just getting high or drunk at your party or event. Making the party about something other than getting drunk is easier when you provide alternative beverages and some food. And what do you want to do together — Get to know new people? Have good conversations? Tell each other stories? Dance? Play a game or other activity? Watch a band, film, performance, or sporting event together? There are endless possibilities; you just need a little planning and some creativity.

When selecting your activity, remember to keep noise in mind – you might like having a band in your backyard, but what about the neighbors? Noise complaints are one of the most common issues that lead to police showing up.

4. Have one or two sober party/event monitors, and empower them to take care of problems

You may not need a stereotypical bouncer, but you can probably see why most clubs have them. Some people don’t know what is appropriate in social situations, they don’t know their limits, and they won’t respect you, your guests, or your property.

You need one or more individuals who will step in to stop a disaster from happening, ask someone to leave, intervene in a tense situation, or deal calmly with the police or other authorities if they show up. The party/event monitors need to be empowered to keep the peace and to prevent problems before they begin.

5. Be proactive with the police and other authorities

Despite your best efforts, unwanted problems can pop up at events and parties where alcohol is present. The best approach is to be proactive with the police (e.g., talk with campus and community police officers about safe party strategies, call the police when unwanted guests arrive or get too rowdy, work with the police to resolve issues peacefully).

Get to know the police officers in your area, and if they show up uninvited, work with them. Being defensive or obstinate gives them more cause to investigate or cite you. They are most likely responding to a complaint from a neighbor, and need to be reassured that you have matters under control.

If problems at the party lead to citations, know that you will be contacted by the Dean of Students Office. However, demonstrating that you’ve taken steps to make a plan, control your guest list, provide non-alcoholic beverages and food, and mitigate problems could be beneficial. Student Legal Services may be able to help and provide you with free legal advice.

If a party gets busted and your Recognized Student Organization (RSO), sport club, fraternity or sorority may be implicated, the organization’s president should contact staff in Student Involvement, Campus Recreation – Sport Clubs, or the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life to proactively provide information.

Learn more at the Campus Alcohol Risk Education website.

For safe drinking tips, read this blog post

For more information about Nebraska Medicine – University Health Center, visit health.unl.edu.

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Tips for Drinking Safely

By Kirsten Licht, MS, health promotions analyst

With the start of Husker football season, the end of a second successful week of classes and the upcoming holiday fast approaching this weekend, you might be planning ahead for how you’ll celebrate.

If your plans include consuming alcohol, remember these fast facts to keep yourself safe and healthy this weekend:

  1. Know your serving sizes. The proper portions are 1 oz. of 100 proof liquor, 5 oz. of table wine and 12 oz of beer or wine cooler
  2. Many drinks are poured into larger glasses, so you may be drinking more servings than perceived. Use this calculator to help you determine your drink size
  3. The alcohol percentage may vary by brand, so always check the label before you drink
  4. Always drink water in between alcoholic drinks
  5. Food helps slow the absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream, so be sure to eat a protein-filled snack if you drink
  6. Watch what you are mixing with your alcohol. Avoid mixers with lots of sugar or caffeine
  7. If you are underage, know that violating the law can result in rescinded graduate school and job offers, fines, court costs, red flags on a background check and more. Learn more

Additional resources: 

If you’re ever concerned about your drinking habits, Counseling and Psychological Services can help. Call 402.472.5000 or visit our website to learn more about our alcohol services

Top 10 Alcohol and Party Safety Tips

by Alexandra Dahl, University Health Center health promotions analyst

Drinking has long been a popular activity for college students nationwide. While the safest option—and legal restriction for those under 21—is obviously abstinence, this may not be realistic for all.

Whether or not you plan to drink, take time to educate yourself on safe alcohol consumption so that you and your friends have fun and stay safe.

Here are our top 10 alcohol and party safety tips and tricks: 

  1. Make a plan before you go out. Buddy up with a friend and stick with them. If you’re going out with a group, make sure the entire group stays together throughout the night.
  2. Eat a protein-filled snack before drinking. This slows the absorption of alcohol into your body.
  3. Watch your drink be made or make it yourself. This ensures no one is tampering with your drink, and it helps you know how much alcohol you are consuming.
  4. Drink a cup of water in between each alcoholic drink. This helps you pace yourself and stay hydrated.
  5. Keep track of how many drinks you have consumed throughout the night. Alcohol takes a while to process, so this practice will keep you from getting too drunk too quickly.
  6. Never leave your drink unattended. You cannot be sure what will happen to it while you’re away. If you lose sight of your drink, get a new one.
  7. Remember there is no way to “sober up” quickly. The tricks you may have heard about drinking coffee or taking a cold shower don’t work. It just takes time—about one hour per alcoholic drink (standard size) consumed.
  8. Know the signs of alcohol poisoning. If you or a friend begin to look blue or pale, experience nausea or vomiting, pass out or just don’t feel right in general, it’s best to get help. Do not put the person to bed to “sleep it off” or leave the person unattended—this could be dangerous.
  9. Know University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s alcohol policy
  10. No matter what you do, don’t drive. Designate a driver or call an Uber, Lyft or cab. Do this even if you’ve only had a few drinks. Alcohol affects everyone differently, so it’s best to just avoid driving.

On a final note, don’t drink only because you assume everyone’s doing it. The results of the fall 2016 National College Health Assessment II survey revealed UNL students perceived 93.4 percent of their peers drink when, in reality, only 60.5 percent drink. Don’t feel pressured to drink if you don’t want to—it should be your personal choice.

Want to learn more about safe drinking habits? Schedule a University Health Center alcohol safety presentation with our peer educators for your class, registered student organization, residence hall, Greek house, etc. For more information, contact Health Promotion & Outreach by calling 402.472.5000 or visiting http://health.unl.edu/hpo.