COVID-19 has impacted all parts of our lives, especially college party culture. Weve seen stories on the news of college students across the nation hosting parties and the consequences those students, institutions, and communities faced.

Partying has turned from fun to scary in a matter of months. These are potential super-spreader events. 

So, 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 does not support gatherings of more than 10 people due to the risk of spreading COVID-19. 

The Student Code of Conduct also applies off-campus. There are consequences in place if you participate or host a large gathering that endangers the health or safety of any person or has an impact on the educational well-being of the university. This has always been a campus policy.

If you see or notice groups of students not complying to university rules, such as not wearing a mask or physical distancing, you can submit a report form to alert University staff. 

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.  

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 outthen stay in for the night—it’s okay! Remember to listen to how everyone feels about the situation before going out. Try pressuring your friends to stay home instead of 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.  

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. If you happen to go to a bar and see that it’s crowded and people aren’t following CDC guidelines like not wearing masks, you’re doing yourself a favor by returning home

4. Account for Your Own Safety 

Follow the CDC guidelines by wearing a mask, washing or sanitizing your hands often, and keeping a safe physical distance of six feet apart from others.  

These may seem simple during your day-to-day activities. But once alcohol is involved, its more difficult to follow these guidelines because alcohol impairs your judgement.  

Use positive peer pressure to encourage your friends to follow these rules. For example, if one person sanitizes their hands, then everyone in the group should also sanitize their hands. 

5. Keep Track of Locations & Time 

Limit the number of outings and time spent at each place. Avoid going to multiple locations in one night and spending more than an hour at each 

The longer you spend at one place and the more places you visitthe higher your risk for contracting COVID-19. 

6. 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. 

7. 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. Theres also an increased risk of contracting COVID-19 if youre 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. 

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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