COVID-19 has impacted all parts of our lives, especially college party culture.  

Although vaccination rates have increased across the state, we still need to stay safe this homecoming as we are not a fully vaccinated campus–at least not yet. 

It’s important to understand the effects of drinking and partying, especially during the times of COVID-19.  

If you decide to go out for a night, keep these tips in mind: 

Campus & Community Rules

WSU is a dry campus, so there is no alcohol allowed on campus grounds even if you are of legal drinking age. 

WSU has increased sanctions during homecoming week, meaning that there will be increased consequences if you are caught not following university policies.  

Off-campus and community policies are still in effect, some things to note as we go into the hoco weekend: 

  • Open containers of alcohol are not allowed out in public including sidewalks, public streets, parking lots, alleys, or boulevards. 
  • NEVER drink and drive, the BAC limit is 0.08 if you are over 21 years of age.  
  • Don’t host a party. There are ordinances in place against hosting parties where those who are under 21 possess or consume alcohol AND for having it be too loud where you can clearly hear music or noise in public streets. 

1. Use Positive Peer Pressure

Consider using positive peer pressure to help you and your tight-knit crew make the right decisions. Encourage your friends to stay safe by following guidelines and sticking together throughout the night.  

Did you know that not everyone likes to drink and go out? It’s also especially important to make sure that everyone in your group is on board with the plans. If one person isn’t comfortable with going out, then stay in for the night—it’s okay! Remember to listen to how everyone feels about the situation before going out.  

2. Bring Safety Essentials

Remember to bring all your COVID-19 supplies. Grab your mask and carry hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol content on you because it may be difficult to wash your hands frequently. Also consider bringing sanitizing wipes to wipe down bar stools and tables before sitting down.  

Remember to wear your mask, regardless of vaccination status in crowded areas indoors and out. This includes the club fair, the parade, Warrior Game Day Experience and at the football game. 

3. Trust Your Gut If Others Aren’t Safe

Once you arrive, if something doesn’t look or feel right, turn around and go home. Remember that there are increased sanctions during homecoming week.  

Alcohol impairs judgement, if you find yourself in a situation where you don’t feel safe such as a large gathering that could quickly get out of hand or in a space where others aren’t wearing masks–you are doing yourself a favor by returning home. 

4. Safety is Key

On top of trusting your gut–account for your own personal safety. Make sure to have a fully charged cell phone to ensure you can contact a sober ride. Use the buddy system and don’t leave any warrior behind.  

Recognize the signs for alcohol poisoning by remembering CUPS = Cold Skin, Unconscious, Puking & Slowed Breathing. If you notice someone who is exhibiting these symptoms, get them medical attention right away by calling 911.  

If you help someone get to safety, you can request medical amnesty at any time during the process. This means that you will not face any consequences such as underage drinking. Medical amnesty only helps 1 underage person who is helping whomever is intoxicated and needing medical attention. Those who are of legal drinking age do not need medical amnesty. 

5. Don’t Accept or Share Drinks

Never share or accept drinks from others. It has always been a good rule of thumb to never accept drinks from strangers.  

However, this is especially important during a pandemic because a simple shared sip between buds could give you COVID-19. 

6. Don’t Participate in Drinking Games

Avoid non-physically distanced alcohol activities such as drinking games. Drinking games can often lead to over consumption, which further impairs your judgement. There’s also an increased risk of contracting COVID-19 if you’re sharing objects without being able to sanitize in between uses, such as ping pong balls.  

Still not convinced? Here’s some more info. 

 

Common Myths about COVID-19 & Drinking Debunked

Myth: Consuming alcohol destroys the virus that causes COVID-19.

Fact: Consuming alcohol won’t destroy the virus. Rather, consuming alcohol will likely increase the health risks if a person contracts the virus.  

Alcohol—at a concentration of at least 60% by volume—works as a disinfectant on your skin, but it has no effect within your system. 

Myth: Drinking strong alcohol kills the virus in the air. 

Fact: Consuming alcohol won’t kill the virus in the air. Consuming alcohol also won’t disinfect your mouth or throat, nor will it give you any protection against COVID-19. 

Myth: Alcohol—including beer, wine, and distilled spirits of herbal alcohol—stimulates immunity and resistance to the virus.  

Fact: Alcohol weakens your immune system and won’t boost your immunity or resistance to the virus. 

Myth: I’m fully vaccinated so I don’t have to worry about getting COVID-19 

Fact: There are deadly variants circling around that are more contagious compared to the original coronavirus.  

Please be cautious by wearing a mask in crowded areas including outdoors, wash or sanitize hands often, keep a safe physical distance, and don’t share drinks. 

Although alcohol may give you a sense of invincibility against the virus, it’s proven that drinking and COVID-19 do not mix as well your vodka and lemonade.   

Remember to stay safe if you decide to go out. Wear your mask, sanitize your hands often, stay smart, and stay six feet apart! 

Drinking & Stress

If you are feeling stressed, anxious or depressed, drinking is not a healthy way to cope. Don’t attempt to solve your problems with a bottleseek help from Counseling Services instead.  

Counseling Services offers telecounseling appointments where you can meet via zoom with a trained mental health professional.   

Email counselingservices@winona.edu or call 507.457.5330 to schedule an appointment. 

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Amy Nelson

Amy Nelson graduated in 2020 with a degree in Art: I-Design. As a student, she worked with the University Marketing & Communications team as a writer and photographer. She was hired after graduation to support public health communications during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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