Reflecting on party culture

Finding the courage to speak up in unsafe situations

Olivia Cattabriga / Art Director

A fraternity social was held recently which included a controversial theme of Amsterdam red-light district and served tubs of unlabeled alcohol. An unnamed student who was in attendance at the private event said they felt uncomfortable and unsafe there.

Not having the tubs labeled with what they contained, including the alcohol and juices or soda, opened up the possibility of attendees getting sick or experiencing an allergic reaction to something that they were not aware they were drinking. This possibility could also be a liability for parties that serve unlabeled alcohol such as in this instance.

However, this also begs the question of self-advocacy. People should be aware of how many alcoholic drinks they are having. It is also a good idea for groups of close friends to be looking out for one another while at parties to make sure everyone is staying safe and being smart because every individual has different experiences with drinking and different tolerance levels.

The nature of this event also brings up the issue of expectations for Greek life parties within party culture. With social media accounts like Barstool posting photos and videos of people doing potentially unsafe activities, usually involving drinking, it creates a stereotype for what to expect when attending a social event at college. This expectation could lead to organizations, groups of people or individuals hosting parties that include things with the expectation of it being fun and well-received, only for it to cause attendees to feel uncomfortable in that situation.

While we know it’s not possible to prevent these types of events from happening, we believe it’s important to educate students on the possible dangers that can occur. If you are throwing a party, make sure you know the signs of alcohol poisoning and what to do in emergency situations. These are topics that are also important to highlight during orientation.

At the end of the day, it’s important to know your limits and listen to your gut. If you are in a position that makes you feel uncomfortable, get out of that situation. Don’t do anything that makes you uneasy just because everyone else is doing it. Chances are if you don’t feel comfortable, someone else in the room feels the same way, too. By speaking up, you can be an advocate for yourself and others.