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Garnet Pledge Update: Alcohol Registered Events Are Now Allowed on Campus

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Photo by Owen Mortner for The Phoenix

On Feb. 11, Senior Associate Dean of Student Life Nathan Miller sent the Swarthmore community an updated Garnet Pledge for the Spring semester. Miller announced that spectators are now authorized to attend all campus events, including athletic competitions. Furthermore, the updated Garnet Pledge now permits non-Swarthmore-affiliated visitors to campus, though overnight guests from off-campus in student residence halls are still not allowed. Additionally, Miller informed students that from Feb. 14 onwards, students can now register and host Alcohol Registered Events (A.R.E.s) and other campus events. These events, however, must have a limit of 50 participants.

Since Miller sent his email, the Office of Student Engagement (OSE) began hosting virtual A.R.E. training sessions from Feb. 22 to Feb. 25. Every student that plans to host an A.R.E. this semester is required to attend a training session.

Alcohol and Other Drugs Counselor and Educator Joshua Ellow hopes that these A.R.E.s will provide students on campus with another means to relax and unwind.

“My hope is that students of legal drinking age see the return of A.R.E.s as an opportunity to enjoy themselves, as this was indicated as an area of concern on the last AOD Survey. According to the 2021 AOD Survey, students reported notable interest in more alcohol-friendly events as well as substance-free events,” Ellow said in an email to The Phoenix.

Ellow also expressed his worry that the lack of social events during the COVID-19 pandemic might result in an uptick in alcohol use.

“As the alcohol and other drugs counselor and educator, I always have some concern about drug use, although I realize many of our students don’t drink to excess and about 1/3 don’t drink at all!  Unfortunately, this is a unique time in history where many students have not had regular access to gatherings because of COVID,” Ellow said.

Also, with the reintroduction of A.R.Es., Ellow pointed out potential dangers of drinking in a social setting.

“Group consumption definitely impacts how we drink. Sometimes, we drink at the pace of the fastest drinker because when they get done [with] their drink, they’ll get everyone the next round,” Ellow noted. “Additionally, peer pressure is a real thing; however, not in the way you may think. It’s my understanding that Swatties never pressure their friends; however, students may feel like they ‘should’ be drinking like certain friends because of social status or even class year. In this way, peer pressure is more like peer mirroring.”

To ensure the safety of the student body, Ellow encourages everyone to remember the myriad resources the campus offers such as the Health Center, CAPS, and the Religious and Spiritual Life staff. Ellow also reminded students of important acronyms that may aid in maintaining safe drinking practices.

“Planning ahead with alcohol actually reminds us of a great acronym to remember. When it comes to EtOH, key considerations should relate to ‘Pacing, Limiting amounts, Alternating with water, and Never driving or breaking one’s values’ (The PLAN acronym began with pacing!),” Ellow said.

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