Game Day Safety
It’s always a bit of a drag to start the fall semester after three full months of summer break, but with a new fall semester comes college football! From undergrad freshman to second-year graduate students, professors, and faculty, everyone loves this time of year when we all come together to cheer on our school in America’s real favorite pastime. With football season starting, so does the tradition of tailgating. For many college students tailgating means two things, drinking and more drinking. While this can seem tempting, be aware it also comes with its dangers. So here are some tips to staying safe on game day.
Being around hundreds of people while they are drinking or already have become inebriated can bring challenges for anyone, especially if you aren’t old enough to drink or wish to remain sober. Tip one on game day safety if you wish to avoid the drunks is to see if your school has an alcohol free zone. This is where students can still have a lot of fun by playing games and interacting with other students, as well as enjoy the free food universities typically provide as a ploy to get students to stay alcohol free. You can either find this information by searching on the schools website or through the students activates board.
My second tip is to always stay in a group of people you know and trust and to never go off by yourself anywhere. When a home game is happening at a university, hundreds of people come into town for it. This can make any college football game a lively and exciting place to be, but with so many people partying, drinking, and gathering in a limited space, something bad could happen. Don’t be naive enough to think that everyone has innocent intentions. Use your common sense and know what is going on around you at all times. Watch your drink as well; people can easily slip thing into it. Just be aware. If you see something suspicious or if something just doesn’t seem right to you, let local authorities know. Police on game days are out in full force and want to keep everyone safe.
That brings me to my third tip. Always keep your phone charged and with you when you are out tailgating, at the game, or attending after-parties. If you find yourself separated from your group, you need to have a way of getting ahold of them to reconvene. If you ever feel uncomfortable or anxious about the people around you when you are by yourself, you can find a police officer and wait by him or her until your friends can find you. Never be alone if you can help it.
My fourth tip is to know what you can and cannot have in the stadium. Most of it is pretty self-explanatory such as no weapons like guns or knifes. You are probably also not allowed to bring outside food or drinks into the stadium. This is a pretty standard thing so that you are “prompted” to by the concessions inside the stadium. So my suggestions is to not bring any water bottles or coffee cups you don’t want to lose, because they may turn you away at the gate or confiscate them from you if you still want to go inside. For women, you may also want to look into if there is a purse size restriction. A lot of stadiums won’t let large purses or bags inside because of what all they could smuggle in or out. All of this information can be found on your school’s website.
My fifth tip is to have a safe way home after the game. Schools will typically provide buses or other forms of transportation for students, especially if the campus is not in walking distance from the stadium. That is always a good, safe mode of transportation, so just be sure to know the pick-up/drop off spots. It is also a good strategy to have the local cab company’s number in your phone to call in case you find yourself stranded. There may also be taxis that drive around near the stadium on game days which students can flag down to get home safely. Another thing you should consider, especially if you are old enough to drink (and have been doing so), is to designate a friend or find someone you trust who is willing to be a designated driver. The main point is to have a plan beforehand on how you intend to get home safely.
My sixth and final tip is to have fun! None of these safety tips should take away the fun of a great game day—instead they should enhance it because they help ensure you stay safe. Football season is such an exciting time, and showing school spirit can help bring you closer to your school and community. Join in the fun, and cheer on your team! Simply remember to be aware of what is going on around you, stay with a group, and make mature decisions when it comes to alcohol.