As Halloween approaches, Oregon State University and the City of Corvallis are focusing their efforts on making sure that students have a safe holiday celebration. Halloween weekend is typically a busy time for law enforcement and emergency room staff as under-aged and excessive drinking, driving while under the influence, and other high-risk behaviors increase due in part to an influx of young people from other areas looking to celebrate in a college town.
To mitigate problems associated with the holiday, Oregon State, with help from local government and law enforcement agencies, is reaching out to the student population to encourage and support responsible drinking and hosting, alternative alcohol-free events, bystander intervention and respectful, culturally appropriate costumes.
Additionally, Oregon State’s Jon Stoll, director of Corvallis Community Relations, is reaching out to parents of local high school students to pass on tips about making safe personal choices. In a letter being disseminated by the Corvallis School District, the university is providing access to OSU resources as well as a tip sheet for parents on talking to their high school children on making informed decisions about alcohol consumption and other high-risk behaviors.
“The first weeks of our fall term have historically included Halloween celebrations at private-off campus residences, which can create additional risk of harm,” Stoll said. “OSU is deeply committed to the safety of students and focuses many of its efforts on this time of the year to create healthy environments. These efforts go a long way in ensuring students have safe and productive academic careers, but we also encourage family members to help in these efforts.”
Some tips for Oregon State students includes making sure to know your destination when you leave the house, know what friends are going with you, and keep drinking to a minimum or don’t drink at all. Keep the number of SafeRide or local taxi companies close by, watch your drinks, and if you’re hosting, know who is in your home at all times and don’t serve alcohol to minors.
Students are also encouraged to know the signs of alcohol poisoning in themselves and in friends. These include shallow breathing, unresponsiveness, cold and clammy skin, pale or blueish skin and vomiting. Students who call 911 for help in this situation will not be charged with an MIP (Minor in Possession).
Bystander intervention is key for students, both to prevent alcohol poisoning as well as sexual and/or physical assault. If something doesn’t seem right, students are asked to intervene if they can safely do so, or to get help.
While the focus of this outreach is to stop problems before they happen, Corvallis Police and the Oregon State Police housed at OSU will triple their presence in support of a safe Halloween holiday weekend.
For more information on these efforts, go to experience.oregonstate.edu/halloween.