This brief course is designed for all students of Gwynedd Mercy University, but specifically those who live in an off campus residence. While we do not condone the hosting of parties that surround the drinking of alcohol, we hope to provide you with the necessary information to make healthy and informed decisions. In this course we will review various topics that will help you make decisions on how to safely host a party. If at any time there are any questions or concerns about this course material, or any information needs clarification, please do not hesitate to contact the Alcohol & other Drug Coordinator, Jesse Kunwar at extension 21395, or AOD@gmercyu.edu.
It is important to know that even if you aren’t living on campus that you are subject to all campus policy and regulation, see below:
Off-Campus Behavior and Responsibility Students at Gwynedd Mercy University are members of both the University community and the communities surrounding the University. All members of the University community have the obligation to adhere to the policies of the University and laws of the federal, state and local jurisdictions. The University’s practice is to hold students responsible for behavior off campus. Student behavior, both positive and negative, reflects upon the University. The University reserves the right to investigate, and if deemed appropriate, take disciplinary action on complaints received concerning off-campus student behavior from the police, neighbors, property owners, other students, faculty, staff, and the public at large. Students whose behavior off campus is contrary to public law and/or the Code will be subject to disciplinary sanctions.
All students must be aware of the following:
- The University may discipline students for incidents that occur off campus.
- The decisions of the University and Magistrate/Courts are independent and mutually exclusive.
- The University may discipline students in all cases where a citation or arrest takes place.
- The University will not delay issuing a decision in a case because of a pending case before the Magistrate or Courts.
Alcohol Policy (PDF)
Student Code of Conduct (PDF)
Gwynedd Mercy University is committed to providing a living/learning community that employs educational processes to promote the health and safety of all students and sustain a climate conducive to their personal growth and development. Student wellness is of primary concern. Therefore, the Medical Amnesty Policy has been developed to reduce harmful alcohol and other related drug effects. When students decide to drink or engage in drug use, the University expects that they do so in a responsible and legal manner. However, the University recognizes that there may be times when students experience severe intoxication or serious injury relating to alcohol, cannabis, and/or other drug use. Under those circumstances, Gwynedd Mercy University expects students to call for medical assistance. The University is committed to ensuring that all situations are handled with competence and compassion and prioritize safety over policy violation.
Gwynedd Mercy University strongly encourages students to seek and use medical assistance for themselves or others during emergency situations when they are dangerously under the influence of alcohol, cannabis, or drugs. No student seeking medical treatment for themselves, others, or accepting medical treatment as a result of a Good Samaritan report, for the effects of cannabis, alcohol, or other drug use, will be subject to University discipline for violating the Alcohol or Other Drug policy. Medical Amnesty may be granted to an intoxicated student; however, the student will be required to complete the necessary requirements (outlined below) including participating in the University’s R.A.I.S.E. (Reducing Alcohol Incidents through Student Education) program.
Please see the below documents for the full rules and regulations related to this policy:
Ok, so now that you know the laws and campus policies, lets talk about what you can do in your planning to set yourself up for safety and success!
Let’s start with environmental planning, the what and the where!
If you are going to host the party at your home let’s review ways to make your home safe and reduce the risk of potential dangers!
Housemates, if you have them, make sure everyone knows, and is on board with having the party! Communication and compromise are key in successful roommate relationships! The last thing you want to do is host a party without a housemate’s consent and cause conflict within your home! If one of your housemates doesn’t agree and you would like to have the party anyway, talk with them about ways to compromise. Would they mind staying with a friend/family for the night? If not, perhaps rescheduling, cancelling, or finding a different location would be a better idea.
Talk to your neighbors. If you live in an apartment, or a home that is in close proximity to another, you should make sure to give your neighbors a heads up about your party. They are less likely to report your party if they are aware of it, if appropriate you can even invite them! The last thing you want to do is host a party that wakes up a sleeping newborn baby, or someone who works long hours, you’ll be sure to have the police on your doorstep!
Noise: Make sure to know the noise ordinances in your town, even if you talk to your neighbors if your party gets too loud, or is loud too late the police may show up regardless! Make sure your guests respect the noise level and if they won’t respect this, be prepared to ask them to leave. And always take note of the music volume!
Parking. If you live in a residential area, and many of your guests will be driving or parking cars at your home, make sure you address parking issues. Another way to get the cops called on your party is by blocking a neighbor’s car, driveway, or taking up all the parking in the neighborhood. Make sure you tell your guests where they can and cannot park, and make sure you check periodically to make sure no one breaks the rules.
- Make sure to keep your party designated to certain parts of your home, the parts of your home where guests are always visible and none of your personal belongings are at risk of damage or theft. You’ll want to keep bedrooms as inaccessible, lock them so guests cannot enter. This will protect you not only from potential theft, but protect your guests from sexual assault as well.
- Clear the space. Make sure there are unobstructed walkways, that all sharp objects are removed, and any potentially trip hazards are repaired or at least clearly marked.
- If your home has a pool or body of water close by be sure to have it inaccessible and monitored.
- Make sure all entrances are monitored for unwanted guests or guests who are unsafe to be left alone.
Guest list: This is an important topic to cover and plan, and one that most people do not consider. Who will be at your party? Here are some things to consider:
How many people are you inviting? Can your home accommodate it if they all come?
Are you guests allowed to bring a friend?
How will you monitor the guests who attend?
What will you do if a guest arrives already intoxicated?
What will you do if someone unwanted or uninvited arrives?
Things we suggest:
- Develop a physical guest list that you and your housemates all agree on.
- Request that all guests clear friends/significant others that they plan to bring past you before the party
- Have one of the hosts “work the door” and make sure everyone who attends was on the guest list.
- Have a plan on how to address any unwanted/uninvited guests
This is a VERY tricky subject and needs to be given through planning. Once again, as a University we do not condone parties that are solely based around alcohol and encourage students to host “sober” parties whenever possible; however, if you choose to host a party that involves alcohol we want you to be prepared to keep yourself and everyone in attendance safe.
Sober Party Information (PDF)
The biggest thing to decide is HOW alcohol will be present at your party? We have various things for you to consider.
First and foremost, if you plan to have alcohol present at your party one thing you should always have in place is a “Sober host” one of the housemates/roommates who has been designated to stay sober to be able to monitor the party and ensure the safety of your guests. This would be the person who keeps an eye on people’s alcohol consumption, looks out for warning signs of alcohol poisoning, who can step in if there is a problem/confrontation, or will contact authorities if the party gets out of hand or someone needs medical attention. This will also ensure that there is at least one sober person if anyone needs to drive at any point during the party.
Secondly, will you be providing alcohol?
If you choose to provide guests with alcohol here are some things you should think about:
- Providing alcohol to those who are under 21 is illegal, this is considered a misdemeanor offense, and you could be fined at the minimum $1,000 for a single guest.
- If you do choose to restrict your party from under 21-year old's, be sure to know how to check an ID, and how to spot a fake.
- If you do choose to serve 21-year old's, please be even more cautious on the safety tips for alcohol consumption.
- Do not have “community drinks” like punch bowls or “jungle juice,” as these are at high risk for contamination and risk of date rape drugs. These are also at risk for potential alcohol poisoning, as guests are unable to monitor their alcohol consumption.
- If you are providing alcohol to your guests, please make sure everyone gets home safely and has a Designated Driver, as you will be responsible for their safety once they leave your home.
- Monitor how much your guests are consuming, and know the warning signs of alcohol poisoning in case a guest needs medical attention.
- Please be prepared to step in if you think someone is drinking too much.
Or, will you allow your guests to bring their own alcohol?
- Notice how much each person is bringing into your home, if it seems excessive, be prepared to intervene.
- If guests are bringing open containers or opened bottles, are they sharing the contents? This could be risky, as you cannot be sure that they are not tampered with.
- If they are bringing their own pre-mixed drinks, please know the warning signs of alcohol poisoning, as you are unable to monitor their consumption.
- Be prepared to step in if you feel someone is drinking too much.
No matter how alcohol arrives at your home, please be sure to review the safety tips below, as well as the warning signs for alcohol poisoning and bystander intervention. But here are a few things that you can easily do to prevent excessive consumption.
- Provide non-alcoholic drinks
- Provide carb or protein heavy snacks
- Avoid drinking games, or make sure you’re playing these games WITHOUT alcohol. (I.E. Water Pong or flip cup without the chugging component)
- If providing alcohol choose not to provide liquor or high alcohol content beverages
- If serving, set a “cut off limit” or “cut off time”
Alcohol Information about BAC
Your BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) is the percentage of your blood volume that is alcohol. The more you drink, the more your BAC increases. As BAC increases, alcohol’s effects become less pleasant and more dangerous. The rate at which a person’s BAC rises varies depending on:
- The number of drinks consumed (The more consumed, the higher the BAC)
- How quickly drinks are consumed (Alcohol consumed more quickly raises the BAC higher than when drinks are consumed over a longer period of time)
- Your gender (Women generally have less water weight and more body fat per pound than men. Because alcohol doesn’t go into fat cells as easily, more alcohol remains in a women’s body.)
- Your weight (More weight = more water; water dilutes alcohol and lowers the BAC)
- Food in your stomach (Food slows down alcohol absorption. What’s the best to eat? Protein! It takes the longest to digest)
Binge drinking is a pattern of excessive alcohol use that increases a person’s blood alcohol content very rapidly. This typically happens when men consumer 5 or more drinks, and when women consumer 4 or more drinks, in about 2 hours. About 90% of the alcohol consumed by U.S. youth under the age of 21 is in the form of bingeing. Binge drinking is associated with many health problems, including but not limited to:
- Unintentional injuries (e.g. car crashes, falls, burns, drowning)
- Unintentional injuries (e.g. firearm injuries, sexual assault, domestic violence)
- Alcohol poisoning
- Unsafe sex and sexually transmitted diseases
- Unintended pregnancy
- Sexual dysfunction
- High blood pressure, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases
- Liver disease
- Neurological damage
Alcohol Safety Tips
Know what’s in your drink!
Alcohol Poisoning Warning Signs
Date Rape Drugs
Getting Home Safely
How do you plan to make sure your friends are getting home safely? Things to consider:
- Will you be making sure everyone has a DD?
- Will you get your friends an UBER or LYFT?
- Will you be allowing guests to stay the night? IF so, do you have adequate room? Will everyone be able to be safely monitored?
If you choose to host a party in your home, there are various situations that could occur in your home where you would need to recognize warning signs and be able to intervene to protect your friends, here you can find a quick video that could help. Watch now!
Be prepared for police involvement. This could happen for so many reasons when there is a party, so its important to be prepared on how to handle it.
- Have the sober host do all the talking. Be open, honest, calm, and respectful.
- If they were called by a neighbor, be respectful of that neighbor.
- Listen to what they have to say, and respond accordingly.
- If they were called due to someone needing medical attention, provide all necessary details quickly and efficiently.
It’s important to be prepared for the possibility of one of your party goers having too much to drink. Here are some tips on how to interact with an intoxicated individual:
- Stay calm and talk to them calmly.
- Try to get the individual to a private or less crowded spot to reduce interference.
- Do not argue or try to challenge an intoxicated person.
- Listen to them and try your best to respond with kindness and understanding.
- Be careful when using humor, as to not offend the intoxicated person.
- Partner up with another sober person or their friend if you need help.
- Offer water and a snack.
- Do not allow them to continue to drink.
- If appropriate help them find a way home
- If they become aggressive or violent, do not engage with the and ensure guests do the same, and do not hesitate to contact the authorities.
It is an unfortunately very well-known fact that alcohol consumption increases the risk of sexual assault. In fact, alcohol is involved in a majority of sexual assaults, and it is important to know what to do if someone was sexually assaulted at your party.
- Listen to the victim.
- Believe the victim.
- Take them to a safe place.
- Offer support to file a report, or get medical treatment if needed.
- Contact authorities or the Title IX officer with their permission.
- Do not ask the victim to share the details of the assault.
- Remind them that they have access to Counseling services or campus ministry on campus.
- If the authorities become involved, be sure to give them your full cooperation, and stay honest and respectful always.
All students can reach out to our Title IX coordinator if they have been the victim of any type of sexual violence. All students may also receive free and confidential services from our counselling office as well.