Don’t let the party school reputation scare you


Kenyon Edmond

Student Alyssa Pappas walks east on Springfield Avenue with Student Patrol officers Hannah McCullough and Zach Armstrong on Nov. 4. SafeWalks is a service mentioned by assistant Features editor Marissa to take advantage of while on campus.

By Marissa Plescia, Assistant Features Editor

At a college with bars having an entrance age of 19 years old, and a total of 54 fraternities and 35 sororities, there’s bound to be a party school reputation. However, for those who don’t consider themselves to be huge partiers, or are a little unsure of the culture here, there’s no reason to be afraid at this school. Here are some tips on how to stay safe while going out.

Don’t feel like you have to go out to parties or bars. Yes, Champaign-Urbana is a college town, but there are plenty of other things to do here. Lots of great restaurants are around, especially in downtown Champaign. There’s a mall in town, and concerts and shows to see. The Illini Union also offers movie nights, bowling and other events.

Always go out with friends, stay with friends and leave with friends. Your friends are the ones who will help you out when you need it! And if you notice a friend who needs help, step in for him or her too. It’s also a good idea to share your location with your friends. That way your friends will be able to track you if you’re ever in need. Nobody should feel like they can’t trust their friends while they’re out.

Have a plan before going out. Have a general idea of where you’re going to go and where you’re going to end up. You don’t have to completely stick to the plan, but it’s always a good idea to have some sort of idea about how the night is going to go. It’s a good idea to have a plan B as well.

Remember that you don’t have to drink if you don’t want to. No one worth being around will make you do anything that you don’t want to. But if you do feel pressured, you can always hold a soft drink of some sort to keep people off your back.

If you do drink, never leave your drinks alone and don’t accept drinks from a stranger. Also, don’t do anything to another person’s drink.

Make sure to also eat a good meal beforehand, and to stay hydrated before drinking and while drinking. It will make things significantly better in the morning.

Take advantage of SafeRides, SafeWalks and Uber. SafeRides and SafeWalks are offered from the University to students, faculty and staff free of charge. Calls are taken from 9 p.m. to 2:15 a.m. Sunday through Wednesday, and from 9 p.m. to 2:45 a.m. Thursday through Saturday. Usually Uber works too!

Stay away from jungle juice at parties. You don’t know what’s in it or how much is in it.

Don’t use fake IDs at the bars. A lot of people think that since the bars are just “college bars” that they can get away with fake IDs. Some of these bars hire private security, so if you get caught with a fake ID, you’re in big trouble. Especially be careful on big nights like Homecoming, Unofficial or Dad’s/Mom’s Weekend, because those are the nights where a lot of cops are out. Fines can be up to $2,500 if caught.

The University has a medical amnesty law that protects students drinking underage who call in a medical emergency on the behalf of someone else. However, this rule only works if the students stays with the person in need and cooperates with authorities. If someone has had too much to drink and needs medical attention, you should never hesitate to call it in.

Marissa is a junior in Media.

[email protected]