A quick crash course on party etiquette for the beginning of the fall semester

We college students party. We like to have fun, especially with the stresses of everyday classes, challenges and situations. This is a fact, no matter how much it makes administrators cringe. However, every party carries potential serious legal and academic repercussions, so any partying is risky. Alcohol will likely be involved at a party; although, dry parties do exist. Given the risks, all you can do as either a host or guest is to act responsibly.

Heed appropriate caution when partying on campus. I consider this to be the riskiest of the riskiest for partying. Resident Assistants are obligated to look around at big social functions and write you up. This leads to the most fundamental rule: Strictly abide by the capacity rules (it’s the law), unless your party has been registered. If you choose to party on campus, be sure to follow all the school rules and be honest with the RAs or school officials when questioned.

Then there are off-campus parties. Extra legal purview is included with school policies so take extra caution. A good party practices proper risk management. Should alcohol be served, ensure that at least one person is sober and is checking on people moving in and out of the building. I suggest you safely avoid a party from which large crowds of people swarm out without a host keeping tabs on everything. Noise can easily get out of control with music, alcohol and a large number of people.

At any party, you will be confronted by an array of situations. It will be very tempting to try new things, and I caution you in two ways. First, never give in to peer pressure. Sure, everything amounts to choice, but it must be your choice alone; know that all choices have consequences. Second, go with friends, and watch out for each other — anything unexpected can happen. Should your friend become incapable of making his own decisions, accompany him back to his residence. If the situation is worse, and someone is seriously ill, call 911. If you are on campus and dealing with this situation, still call 911; the College’s amnesty policy is there for a reason.

Cops are not stupid. Do not taunt or talk back to an officer when confronted — lying to an officer can be worse than admitting the truth. Cops aren’t on the scene to be party predators. As law enforcers, they uphold responsibility, and expect you, as a host or guest, to be responsible as well. In the end, this leads to a more general piece of advice: Be respectful of others. It’s cool to have the time to wind down from a busy week, but we also have to be mindful of the effects of our actions on others.

Email Bengming Zhang at bzhang01@email.wm.edu.


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