During break, students should have fun, keep safety in mind

It’s no secret that Tech students work hard. Commitments to full course loads, student organizations, community service, internships and co-ops—perhaps not all at once, but many at the same time—ensure that when mid-March arrives each year, you have earned a few days to relax and prepare for the end of the semester. As Dean of Students, however, it is always wrenching to hear how the choices of a student adversely affected his or her vacation.

For those students traveling out of town, be sure you’ve chosen to travel with friends you trust, and that those friends can trust you as well. If it seems a friend has had too much to drink or is about to enter a dangerous situation, act on that instinct and step in—even if it means checking in early yourself to ensure a friend makes it home safely.

When going out, stay together and go home with the same group. Before going out, designate someone to be in charge of transportation for the night—whether that means serving as a designated driver or having the number of a taxi service stored in one’s cell phone—to ensure there’s a safe plan for getting home. If staying at a hotel, ask the front desk staff or concierge to recommend transportation options as well as any areas of town to avoid.

If you are of age and choose to drink during the break, drink responsibly. I hope you’ll note some good advice from our Health Center staff.

Eat before and during drinking. Keep track of how many drinks you’ve had. Stick with only one kind of alcohol. Alternate alcoholic with non-alcoholic beverages. Make a plan about how many drinks you’ll have and stick to it. Avoid drinking games. Have a friend let you know when you’ve had enough. Pace drinks to one or fewer per hour.

Meeting students from other schools can be a good chance to make friends outside of Tech, but be cautious. If you meet someone you’d like to see again during your vacation, arrange to meet in a public place and bring a friend.

For those students remaining on campus over the break, please keep in mind that campus will not be as lively. Exercise caution while walking alone or with friends, and use the Stingerette. Stingers and Trolleys will be running less frequently, but the Stingerette will operate from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. as usual to ensure student safety during the break.

Remember, Spring Break is your opportunity to take a week away from Tech’s rigorous academics and enjoy your time off. I encourage all of you to invest in some rest and relaxation.

If something does happen during the week that you need to discuss, please don’t hesitate to make an appointment with me or someone else from the Dean of Students staff by visiting deanofstudents.gatech.edu or calling 404-894-6367. If you need to speak to me or a member of my staff while away, please contact the Dean of Students Office at 404-894-6367. If there is an after-hours emergency, contact the GTPD at 404-894-2500.

To keep safety in mind throughout the week, follow safety tips on Twitter at @SafeStingBreak or visit safespringbreak.org.