Wellness Services: homecoming safety tips


Courtesy Photo/UNI Wellness Services

Guest Column

Editor’s Note: This guest column was submitted by Student Wellness Services.

As the centennial homecoming celebration draws near, consider making a homecoming safety checklist to ensure you are able to have a fun and safe time throughout the week! Homecoming goes beyond the game. 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 2019 UNI National College Health Assessment.

If your form of celebrating a Panther victory includes alcohol, keep these tips in mind. What will you add to your personal safety checklist?

Eat before drinking and snack throughout the night! Food helps slow the rate of absorption of alcohol into the bloodstream.

Maintain your buzz and avoid regrets or poor decisions by staying in your “sweet spot” — a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.05 or less! Set a limit on how many standard drinks you will have and keep track while you are drinking. Remember: 12 oz of beer, 5 oz of wine, and 1.5 oz of hard liquor all are considered a standard drink! Pay attention to the alcohol by volume (ABV) of your drink.

An easy way to measure is using a Solo cup! The bottom line represents 1.5 oz for hard liquor, the next line up represents 5 oz for wine, and the third line from the bottom represents 12 oz for beer.

Pace drinks to one or less per hour and alternate with water or other non-alcoholic beverages. Make sure to be mindful of the container you are drinking from! It’s easier to measure how much you’re drinking by using a Solo cup, as mentioned above, versus another container.

Choose drinks that contain less alcohol by volume, such as a beer instead of a shot.

Make a plan outlining 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 sexual activity (obtain FREE safer sex supplies at the Student Health Center).

Go to alcohol.org/bac-calculator to plan out how many drinks you’ll have over a period of time to see the potential effects on your BAC and the symptoms you may feel.

Never leave your drink unattended. If you lose sight of it, get a new one! Be alert of your surroundings. If your gut is sending you signals, listen to it! Your intuition is usually right.

If you are uncomfortable in a situation, it is okay to leave! Tell someone you trust and make sure they stay with you. If you need to make up an excuse, here are some options:

• Another friend needs assistance.

• You need to make an urgent phone call.

• You feel unwell.

• You have another commitment.

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

Take the free and confidential Alcohol eCHECKUP TO GO online assessment before homecoming to see where you stand with your alcohol use. Get started here: aodeducation.uni.edu.

If you see any of the following signs of alcohol overdose (CUPS), call 911 for help. Remember, only one of these signs are enough to make the call:

• C – Cold, clammy skin/pale or bluish skin

• U – Unconsciousness/semi-consciousness

• 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.

Surround yourself with people you trust, stay with your group, and leave with your group. Don’t leave your friends behind!

Even when we make plans, the unexpected can happen. If you need help at any time, contact UNI Police at (319)-273-2712. If it’s an emergency, call 9-1-1 right away. Other resources can be reached here:

• On-campus sexual assault advocate through the Riverview Center: (563) 231-1285

• 24/7 sexual assault support: (888) 557-0310

• 24/7 relationship violence support: (800) 208-0388

• UNI Counseling Center 24/7 crisis phone line: (319) 273-2676, press 2 for a crisis counselor

• 24/7 crisis text line: text Hello to 741741. Being safe should be practiced year-round! If you are looking for more information on the above resources, visit safety.uni.edu. For other tips, you can visit the Student Wellness Services website at studentwellness.uni.edu.

Remember, you don’t need to go beyond your limits to celebrate homecoming. Follow your gut, have fun, and stay safe this homecoming!