PS Birthday Ball Advice 

By The Elm - Feb 22,2018@12:01 am

By Abby Wargo
News Editor

Director of the Department of Public Safety Gerald Roderick knows that Birthday Ball is one of the biggest and most important events at Washington College, but, “there are a lot of really good things that happen, and some not-so-good things [as well],” he said.

Public Safety’s main goal for Birthday Ball is to make sure every attendee stays safe before, during, and after the Ball.

Before the Ball begins, Roderick said that it is always good to check the weather forecast.

Bad weather can affect students’ attire choices, he said.

“Dress somewhat for the weather…there will be a coat check,” he said.

The most important thing to remember with the coat check, Roderick said, is to hold onto the tag so that you can retrieve your coat at the end of the night.

“You need to wear something so that you can easily conceal your ID, the coat check thing, room key, whatever you need,” he said.

If students don’t keep their belongings on their person during the Ball, they risk losing phones, wallets, and other valuables, Roderick said.

“[That] makes it a little more difficult to leave the Ball, get back to your room, and carry on,” he said.

Inclement weather can also cause problems for students on their way to the Ball.

“A lot of students walk from the dorms…they’re coming in high-heeled shoes—these are shoes that many of them are wearing for the first time—and by the time they get down to Cain gym, they have painful blisters,” Roderick said. “So it’s always a good idea to have a pair of walking shoes that you bring with you…you bring your tennis shoes and when you get to the Ball you can put your fancy shoes on and you’re ready to go.”

Students also tend to remove their shoes to go out on the dance floor, Roderick said.

That is not the safest idea because, “you may encounter someone on the dance floor with the high-spiked shoes on, and when that comes down on your foot, it’s a painful experience,” he said.

If students wish to buy alcohol at the venue, they must have two forms of identification: a College ID, and an ID with proof of age, such as a driver’s license, he said. In addition, those students should bring cash.

Before the Ball, students often like to pregame, which, according to Roderick, is, “sometimes not the wisest thing to do.”

Pregaming encourages students to consume more, or different types of, alcohol than they would consume on a normal weekend.

“They quickly find themselves in trouble, and they get over-intoxicated,” he said.

If students show up to the event and are visibly intoxicated, either Public Safety or staff volunteers will turn them away at the door.

“It’s not because we don’t like you, but the facility is under a liquor license, and we can’t allow intoxicated persons into a licensed establishment,” he said.

People who are having difficulty walking and talking will be automatically sent home to stay safe.

“We recognize that this is your celebration, and we want it to be a good, safe venue for everybody to have a good time at,” he said.

This includes staffing a lot of Public Safety officers to provide order. They watch out for bad behavior and over-intoxication to ensure that students are safe, according to Roderick.

Before and after the Ball, volunteers will run a shuttle service around Chestertown so that everyone gets to the event and back to their residence safely, he said.

“It’s fantastic that they step up to do that; we get a lot of support from the faculty and staff from all over…so that students can go and have a good time,” he said.

Overall, Roderick “couldn’t stress enough” the importance of limiting alcohol consumption as well as being aware of yourself and others.

“This is really an event that requires your friends to be looking out for one another,” he said. “You should all have a game plan. Be a good bystander and intervene when you need to.”

Even though there are many pitfalls to avoid in order to have a safe, fun evening, “the good news is, it’s a great event,” he said.

“The majority of people that come navigate it perfectly well, and have a great time. You look at the excitement and the joy in that room during those few hours—it’s pretty incredible to see, it really brings people together and gives the institution a hallmark event that people talk about for years to come,” he said.

The Elm

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