By Taylor Wizner, Daily News Editor
Published March 14, 2013
This weekend, fans of maize and blue will be seeing a lot of green — and alcohol.
More like this
University and city officials are promoting a “Stay in the Blue” campaign, advocating responsible drinking for the holiday weekend.
The University will be hosting several events over the weekend, including the Honors Convocation, cheering on the Michigan Basketball team in the Big Ten Conference Tournament and St. Patrick’s Day festivities.
Sarah Daniels, assistant dean of students, said the Division of Student Affairs is partnering with student groups to make sure there would be no conflicts for visitors during the busy weekend.
“In anticipating there will be a lot of external guests on campus, we want to make sure we have a robust weekend with positive messages out there for how students can celebrate appropriately with events that are alternatives to what people may consider as things to do this weekend — alternative events on campus this weekend that are safe and fun,” Daniels said.
Joy Pehlke, a Alcohol and Other Drug health educator with the University Health Service, said the student-driven safety campaign was launched for the first night football game against Notre Dame last year. A similar program for the St. Patrick’s Day weekend aims to produce the same result.
“Part of the efforts we did then to really reduce harm were not only the events that were going on but some of the outreach — outreach with the bars and restaurants, specifically on State Street and closer to campus, and educate them on how to ‘Stay in the Blue’,” Pehlke said.
Pehlke said the groups passed out 10,000 “Stay in the Blue” coasters to bars and restaurants along with a letter signed by a number of University officials supporting the effort to monitor alcohol practices this weekend. The letter asks the participating sites to include non-alcoholic specials, focus on serving food and reduce risks — like by not serving drinks in glass bottles.
“Community members are a major part of the effort to reduce consequences that may happen in the city,” Pehlke said. “The police don’t have to be the only ones around (watching out for public safety).”
Pehlke said the community has been extremely receptive to the campaign as they want a profitable but drama-free weekend.
LSA sophomore Tommy Wydra, vice president of social responsibility for the Interfraternity Council, said even though relatively cold temperatures have been forecasted for this weekend, students will most likely hold parties on off-campus locations during the daytime. He said fraternities have coordinated major events for Saturday to allow for a less chaotic environment for visitors coming to town on Sunday.
The IFC is heading up a student safety lookout program called Michigan Ambassadors. Student volunteers were trained by University Health Services, UMPD and AAPD to evaluate the safeness of parties.
LSA Student Government, Central Student Government and Beyond the Diag, a student organization promoting off-campus safety, are partnering up to keep students entertained and safe on Sunday. The groups will take shifts passing out food at different locations on- and off-campus.
Caroline Canning, the president of LSA Student Government, said volunteers will be passing out bagels in the morning for early partiers. The group will be located in areas with a high concentration of students: outside the Union, at the corner of South University and East University streets, and the neighborhood area on Oakland and East University streets.
“We just want to make sure that students when they are waking up early are able to have food in their stomachs and stay safe throughout the day,” Canning said.
CSG will also be hosting its second annual tailgate on the Diag.