The Daily Illini

Stay safe during Unofficial 2017

Police+officers+patrol+around+the+campus+to+monitor+the+students+and+their+Unofficial+activities+on+Friday%2C+March+4%2C+2016.
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Stay safe during Unofficial 2017

Police officers patrol around the campus to monitor the students and their Unofficial activities on Friday, March 4, 2016.

Police officers patrol around the campus to monitor the students and their Unofficial activities on Friday, March 4, 2016.

The Daily Illini File Photo

Police officers patrol around the campus to monitor the students and their Unofficial activities on Friday, March 4, 2016.

The Daily Illini File Photo

The Daily Illini File Photo

Police officers patrol around the campus to monitor the students and their Unofficial activities on Friday, March 4, 2016.

Every year, the three police forces who help govern our beloved campus hand out hundreds of tickets to students in just one day: the infamous Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day.

Students lament this close monitoring every year, but the cops’ vigilance is merely an appropriate reaction to the many health concerns that students face while celebrating this fabled faux holiday.

Every year, people make regrettable decisions on this day, ranging from drinking far too much to resting far too little. It’s easy to get caught up in the moment — few days on campus elicit such widespread joy — but all students should remind themselves of the harsh truth of any campus celebration; parties are only fun if you’re around to remember them.

The Daily Illini lost a sports reporter in 2011 to a car accident during Unofficial, and alcohol was one of the primary reasons for the crash. Plenty of others have been injured or passed away on this day throughout its two decades.

Of course, The Daily Illini Editorial Board certainly isn’t against having fun on Unofficial. We’ll be doing so in a responsible way, and we encourage students to do the same. You can see from the other content in our newspaper and online, such as our drink endorsements and Official Unofficial Playlist, that we’re willing to discuss the fun aspects of the day as well.

But safety is still the key to making this holiday work. Nobody is supposed to get hurt.

The University and the police have made it as easy as possible for students to take care of their friends on this day. The Good Samaritan policy allows someone of any age to call for an emergency vehicle without fear of being arrested for underage drinking if a friend is experiencing alcohol poisoning. If you find yourself in an unnerving situation because of alcohol, it is imperative that you contact the authorities and remedy the problem.

Police will patrol the streets of Campustown this weekend, so there’s no excuse for not contacting someone, even if your phone is dead. Many University students aren’t old enough to attend the bars, but those who are should be cautious.

Spiked drinks and over-serving are as dangerous on Unofficial as any other night at the bars, if not more. With so many students pregaming from morning until night with no break, the bars will be rowdier than ever.

There’s plenty of room to enjoy Unofficial, bars or no bars, while still prioritizing your safety. Everyone on campus has somebody who cares about their well-being, and a St. Patty’s Day celebration is no excuse to forget that. If everybody keeps that in mind, we can all stick around for next year’s Unofficial as well.

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