By Lauren Schuetz
Ah, Spring Break. A time to relax, enjoy, and spend time with brothers before heading back to school for the dreaded end of the semester. For many of you, this week may be your favorite time of year, and most of you are likely embarking on some type of Spring Break adventures. Some of you are probably heading home to spend time with your family, while others may be volunteering for an Alternative Spring Break Program. But chances are, most of you are quite possibly heading somewhere close to a beach, hoping to have the best week of your lives.
While Spring Break can make for some of the most memorable and fun times of your college career, it can also be one of the most dangerous weeks in the life of a college student. While I want to tell you to alternate your drinks with water (and you should), I want you to consider that there are many practical ways to keep yourself and your brothers safe during your Spring Break activities, whatever they may be. We want you to have fun, but we also want you to protect yourself and your brothers as much as possible.
Use the buddy system
While this may sound like something a third-grade teacher once told you, one of the best ways for you to stay safe this Spring Break is to make sure that you always have someone with you. When you’re traveling with a large group, it can be easy to lose track of people. The best way to avoid losing your group is by always having a buddy. Before you leave town, download the Find My Friends app so you can always keep track of each other.
Track your consumption
The average male consumes 18 drinks per day during Spring Break, which for most of you, could be potentially very dangerous. Consuming this amount of alcohol can lead to alcohol poisoning and unintentional injuries, which is the leading cause of Spring Break incidents for men. Realistically, I know it’s unlikely that you will count the number of drinks you’ve had, but there are many apps that will track your drinks and calculate your BAC for you. Try downloading InteiliDrink or R-U-Buzzed to help keep track and keep you safe. The goal is to never get yourself into a situation where you are not aware of your surroundings or your actions, so tracking your consumption is key.
Don’t “do it for the snap”
In fact, you’re better off not posting what you’re doing on social media at all. Doing something risky to show off on social media may seem like a clever idea at the time, but trust me when I tell you that this is never a good idea. What happens on Spring Break doesn’t always stay on Spring Break, especially if you ‘re sharing it with the world.
Ask for consent
If you take nothing else away from this post, I hope that you will remember that before you engage in any activity this Spring Break, the best way to protect yourself is to ask for consent. A recent study showed that women’s two biggest concerns when attending Spring Break activities were 1. Being taken advantage of and 2. Being drugged. Trust me when I tell you that women go away for Spring Break to relax and have fun, but women want things to happen on their own terms. Regardless of what someone is wearing or how they are acting towards you, you must always respect peoples’ boundaries. The best way for you to protect yourself this Spring Break is to always ask for consent.
When in doubt, intervene
If you see a situation where your brothers or someone else is at risk, intervene. This could be directly stepping in or even just causing a distraction – anything to allow the situation to take a turn for a more positive outcome. The bystander effect is in full force during Spring Break, but it’s on us to make sure that we’re looking out for the people around us. If you feel you can’t directly intervene, the best thing you can do is report what you saw or heard and ask someone else to step in.
Do what ought to be done
My final piece of advice to you this Spring Break season is that if you consistently refer to the principles of Phi Delta Theta, you can’t go wrong. When you are in a situation that calls for action, step up and be the man who takes responsibility. We want you to have a fun Spring Break, but we also want you to have fond, positive memories that you can look back on for years to come. At the end of the day, as you’ve heard repeatedly, do what ought to be done.