Planning an in-person party? Think especially carefully this year. Social gatherings have been a source of spread of coronavirus, and participating in virtual events at home is the best and safest way to stay connected right now.
If you are still planning an in-person get-together, check the limits on the size of gatherings in the expectations that the University has of you and in the area where you are living. Keeping your get-togethers as small as possible, outside, distanced, masked and with limited or no alcohol or other substances is safer.
Since virtual get-togethers are better, get creative. Students have used platforms like Zoom or FaceTime to connect with friends while in the comfort of their own homes. Be aware, though, if you're drinking during these kinds of gatherings, there's no one there to check up on you. So, be sure to keep it limited.
As the host, you're responsible for your guests. Here's a quick guide to help you keep it safer at small, in-person gatherings.
As host, it’s your responsibility to know and follow New Jersey law (pdf), which prohibits the purchasing, serving, and consumption of alcohol by and to people under 21. If you are not in New Jersey, take time to know and follow the laws where you are.
On-campus get-togethers require following the Universities expectations. Hosting on-campus requires you to know and follow University alcohol policy, in addition to state laws.
A responsible, caring host of a gathering, even a small one, will:
- stay sober to ensure they maintain good judgement and can respond as needed
- make sure everyone has a safe way to get home and no one drives after drinking
- make sure all guests are 21+
- ensure that the amount of alcohol available is not too much for the small number of people present
- provide substantial food and non-alcoholic beverages
- abide by all local laws and University expectations and regulations when planning and hosting
- ensure that people who choose to drink do so responsibly
- call 911 (or the local emergency number) in the event that someone is severely intoxicated and/or there is unsafe behavior
Here are some simple actions you can take to help your guests stay in the Green Zone (a BAC at or below 0.06):
- Provide plenty of desirable non-alcoholic beverages. This makes all guests feel welcome and helps them pace themselves.
- Water: have it, or provide cups and directions to the closest source.
- Have enough cups that no one is sharing them and have a way to identify which cup belongs to which person.
- Use clean shot glasses to measure drinks. Pour standard drinks so your guests know how much they’re consuming.
- Do NOT make pre-mixed drinks (punch, etc.). This is dangerous because your guests won’t know how much alcohol is in their drink.
- Be prepared in case someone does overdo it. Know what to do in an alcohol emergency and how to prevent an emergency in the first place.
Having food available is an easy way to remind people to eat while they are drinking. If you’re on campus, you can buy snacks ahead of time at the UStore or the Wa. Prepackaged single servings of food are best so that people aren't putting their hands in bowls of food that everyone is sharing.
If you’re hosting, consider getting together activities beforehand to keep the focus off the alcohol:
- Make a great playlist to share or encourage everyone to bring their favorite songs.
- Watch a show or movie or play some games.
- Avoid drinking games as they encourage excessive drinking and are in violation of University policy.
- Make crafts (especially if the party is around a particular holiday) or have coloring books—they inspire creativity, reduce stress, and have made a recent comeback for adults. Your guests can take something with them when they leave and it’s a great way to encourage conversation. Just make sure that everyone has their own materials and they aren't sharing them.
If you live with other people, communicate with them beforehand. It’s critical that you respect them and get their permission. It’s their home too. Ensure that they are comfortable with your get-together, and form a back-up plan in case things go amiss.