While it’s technically the beginning of spring semester, winter weather is likely to stick around for a few more months. Here are five winter tips to consider if you plan on partying or drinking this semester.
Alcohol and freezing temperatures can be a bad combination. This is because we might actually feel warmer when we’re drunk. Alcohol consumption causes our blood vessels to dilate, making our skin feel warm. This effect can give us a false sense of warmth and increase the risk of hypothermia if we spend too much time outside in cold weather.
Here are some ways to stay safe while drinking in the cold:
Did you know 93% of CU Boulder students support choosing not to drink at a party?
Your limit for alcohol and other substances is probably different from those around you. Be mindful of your own limits and stick to them. You can also enlist a friend to help you stay accountable at parties. If you’re not sure how much is too much, try to only drink one alcoholic beverage per hour. This will prevent you from going too far, too fast.
Mixing alcohol with other substances, including prescription medications, can increase your risk of an overdose. It can also lead to unwanted consequences like passing out, blacking out, feeling sick or doing something you’ll probably regret later.
Social events that have drugs and alcohol involved can increase the risk of harmful situations, including unwanted sexual advances and sexual assault. Help keep others safe by practicing bystander skills.
Identify high risk situations
Keep an eye on people who hit on the drunkest person at a party, encourage others to drink, try to get a drunk person alone or away from their friends, are persistent about pursuing someone sexually or commit low-level boundary violations. It’s not that people don’t understand consent, it’s that some people aren’t interested in honoring it.
Keep track of your friends
High-proof alcohol and ‘jungle juice’ increase the chances of people becoming overly intoxicated. It’s common for perpetrators of sexual assault to encourage alcohol consumption or target those who are drunk. It’s important to check in with a friend if you notice changes like difficulty standing, disorientation, etc. These signs can indicate that they’ve had too much to drink.
Don’t leave friends behind
Avoid ditching someone if they have too much to drink, even if they’re being difficult. This decreases the likelihood that someone will have to rely on less trustworthy people to get home. If you’re intoxicated and need a ride, consider using a rideshare like Lyft, Uber or CU NightRide (free for students, staff and faculty).
Trust your instincts
If something feels weird or wrong, it probably is. If you see a situation that ever feels uncomfortable or unsafe, follow your gut. It’s okay to make up an excuse to interject or interrupt something that doesn’t seem right (e.g. you don’t feel well and need them to leave with you, you need them to check on a friend, you want them to go with you to get something to eat, etc.) to disrupt an uncomfortable or problematic situation.
Take care of your friends by watching for signs of alcohol poisoning or an overdose. Always call 911 for help in a drug- or alcohol-related emergency.
Signs to watch for:
How to respond:
5. Look out for others
The reality is that most sexual assaults are carried out by friends, acquaintances, partners, exes or by a person someone has met online or at a party. Pushing substances onto someone or purusing someone who is intoxicated can be a common tactic for committing sexual assault.
If you’re at a party or out with friends, it’s important to keep an eye out for sketchy situations that may indicate that someone is trying to take advantage of another person through the use of alcohol or other drugs.
Watch out for someone who is:
If you notice these signs, be prepared to intervene or interrupt, even if you aren’t sure your reading the situation correctly. You may need to help reconnect them with trusted friends or enlist others to help ensure they can get home safely.
6. Have fun
College can be a stressful time, and it’s important to take time to have some fun. Practicing these strategies can help you stay safe and enjoy your night out.