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Stay safe this break: Do it for YOU!

Letter to the Editor

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This guest column was submitted by Graduate Assistant Brianna De Moss of Student Wellness Services.

Whether you’re planning on vacationing somewhere tropical or stay-cationing in Cedar Falls, consider making a spring break safety checklist this March to ensure you are able to have a fun and safe time away from classes! Student Wellness Services has highlighted ideas pertaining to alcohol, sexual health, friends and phone safety to pay extra attention to this spring break. What will you add to your personal safety checklist?

Alcohol

If you choose not to include drinking in your plans, you are not alone! In fact, 1 in 3 UNI students choose not to drink alcohol according to the 2017 National College Health Assessment. However, if you choose to drink, consider these safety measures:

● If you plan to drink, maintain your buzz and avoid regrets/poor decisions by staying in your “sweet spot”! Follow these sweet spot tips: Set a limit on how many standard drinks you will have and keep track, pace drinks to one or less per hour and choose drinks that contain less alcohol by volume.

● Outline your personal limits! Think about how much alcohol you want to consume if you choose to drink, how you will get a safe ride and how to obtain protection if you choose to engage in sex.

● Never leave your drink unattended. If you lose sight of it, get a new one!

● Know the potential risks and consequences of drinking underage. Underage drinking can lead to long-term effects in brain development, criminal records, fines for UNI and/or the criminal system and other legal problems.

● Take the Alcohol eCHECKUP TO GO online assessment before spring break to receive personalized feedback about your alcohol use. Get started here: aodeducation.uni.edu.

● If you see the following signs of alcohol overdose, call 911 for help:

    • • ○ C-cold, clammy skin / pale or bluish skin
    • • ○ U-unconscious / semi-conscious
    • • ○ P-prolonged vomiting / very rapid or very slow pulse
    • • ○ S-Slow, shallow or irregular breathing / seizures

● Panthers take care of one another. We encourage students to seek medical or professional help for someone who needs it. In turn, students who seek medical assistance for themselves or another person, due to intoxication of alcohol and/or other drugs may not be held accountable through the student conduct process. The student(s) may be required to complete an educational sanction, but not further conduct action. Questions about the Good Samaritan Provision? Visit the Dean of Students staff in Gilchrist 118 or call 319-273-2332.

Sexual Health

If you plan on engaging in sexual activity while you are away, make sure you think about your personal boundaries and the safety measures you will take. Consider the following ideas to include in your sexual health safety checklist:

● Get yourself tested for sexually transmitted diseases. The Student Health Clinic offers free chlamydia and gonorrhea testing.

● Stock up on protection BEFORE you go! Visit the following website to have safer sex supplies discreetly delivered to your door for FREE: https://www.myiacondoms.org/condom-locator or visit the Student Health Center to make a FREE safer sex kit.

● Avoid mixing sex with alcohol and/or other drugs. When alcohol is involved, it’s difficult to make safe sexual health decisions. Partners are more likely to be careless when using a condom, causing it to break or slip, or they might have sex without using a condom.

● Make consent your top priority this spring break by ensuring you and your partner have a consensual conversation that is clear, coherent, willing and ongoing. People incapacitated by drugs or alcohol cannot consent.

Friends

Be extra intentional about who you surround yourself with over spring break. Consider these ideas as you select friends to spend your spring break with!

● Keep an eye on your friends and agree to watch out for each other. Go out with a group of people you trust and leave with the group you came with!

● Create a code word between you and your friends so that you can alert each other if anything feels off.

● Be an active bystander and intervene if you notice someone who may be in a risky situation.

● When using Uber or Lyft, make sure to ride with a group you trust, never ride alone and do not share the ride service with people you do not know.

Phone Safety

Phones can be your helpful sidekick over spring break if you use them wisely! Use these tips to ensure you’re using your phone most effectively and safely.

● Always bring your phone fully-charged when you go out. Make sure someone you trust knows your plans so they can check in with you often.

● Think twice about posting your location! Sharing too much information can put your safety at risk!

● Update your phone contacts! Start a group chat to easily tell others where you’re going so they’ll know where you are at all times.

Need additional ideas to stay safe and entertained this spring break? Check out this link: uni.edu/resources/campuslife! Whatever you decide, be intentional about creating your own personal safety checklist! What will you add to yours? #DIFY

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Stay safe this break: Do it for YOU!