For students who choose to drink, tailgating season can be a heightened time for unwanted alcohol-related risks.
Iowa State provides plenty of resources to help students party safely and reduce unwanted consequences of drinking.
“We think it is important for students to know about these resources because everyone is gathering together again,” said Katy Cran, strategic communications adviser for the Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs.
Iowa State Student Wellness, in partnership with other Iowa State departments and the City of Ames, launched a campaign this semester called "Let’s Be Frank.” The campaign aims to provide students with information and access to resources about safe partying.
Brian Vanderheyden, director of ISU Student Wellness, said "Let’s Be Frank" is a “harm reduction campaign” designed to share tips and strategies for students to stay safe if they choose to drink.
The campaign provides information about how to safely host a party, as well as how to stay safe if you go out to a party.
Vanderheyden suggested students always stay with their friends when they go out, plan a safe way home and make sure everyone in their group gets home safely.
One option for a free, safe ride home is the CyRide Moonlight Express route, which runs on Friday and Saturday nights from 10:30 p.m. to 3 a.m.
Vanderheyden also recommended students download the Rave Guardian app. Rave Guardian is a personal safety app that allows virtual “guardians” to follow your location during a designated time frame. The app also provides notifications about campus activity and crimes.
The "Let’s Be Frank" campaign also provides information about alcohol poisoning and how to treat someone who exhibits symptoms of alcohol poisoning.
To minimize alcohol-related health risks, Student Wellness suggests drinking only one drink per hour and no more than three drinks in a day.
While alcohol and partying can be a part of the college experience for some students, Vanderheyden emphasized that many students engage in safe behaviors when they choose to party.
“There is this misperception, particularly around alcohol and partying, that everybody is engaging in super high-risk behaviors and everybody is blacking out and getting drunk when actually that is not the case,” Vanderheyden explained. “Most students, if they do go out and party, they actually do so in a pretty low-risk, safe way.”
Cran said that not all students choose to drink, but it is important to make a plan if you choose to go out.
“There are many resources to help them be safe, but also it is their personal responsibility,” Cran said. “You have to look out for yourself and your friends if you choose to participate.”