Rutgers University prepares for their yearly October scare “Halloweekend” – by Jennifer Marin
Picture Credits: Jennifer Marin
The malevolent clown scare across America may be on many people’s minds heading into Halloween, but Rutgers’s main concern is protecting students from themselves.
Every year on Halloween weekend Rutgers students and their friends, some of which do not attend the University, dress up in the year’s popular costumes and parade into the streets of New Brunswick. At most parties, alcohol is a popular yet dangerous guest.
In order to ensure the safety of all those present at this year’s celebrations, the Rutgers University Police Department (RUPD), the New Brunswick Police Department (NBPD), and The Rutgers University Student Assembly (RUSA) have all devised safety measures to promote healthy celebrations.
Prior to any major celebration in which the RUPD is aware that there will be an increase in the amount of people in the area, we know to take the necessary precautions, said Paul Fischer, Capt. of the Rutgers University Police Department.
“There will be tons of people on and off campus involved in some sort of activity over the course of Halloween weekend. In order to ensure safety we are increasing our staffing.”
In addition to the traditional police officers on duty, students can expect extra security officers and community service officers. They should also know that we’re coordinating efforts with the NBPD, who will be monitoring off campus housing, said Brian Emmett, Detective Lieutenant of the RUPD.
“Just because it’s a celebration, doesn’t mean people can let go of their own personal stake or responsibility. They shouldn’t drink to excess and put themselves in a position were their walking late at night, not aware of their surroundings, or taking chances that they normally wouldn’t,” said Capt. Fischer.
Additionally, he stressed the dangers of drinking and driving, stating that there will be targeted Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) units throughout that weekend due to the expected excess drinking that tends to occur.
Alert and aware of the dangers that alcohol presents, the members of the student assembly are doing their part to promote alcohol safety.
According to a proposition brought about by RUSA, Heavy Episodic Drinking (HED) has become a serious issue. HED is often done in conjunction with major holidays and athletic events, and has slowly become a norm.
In order to address HED concerns at Rutgers, RUSA has decided to address some of the physical factors in intoxication, such as hydration and food.
This is the first Halloweekend that we will be handing out food and water through the Scarlet Knights Watch, a group of student volunteers, from 10:30 p.m.- 1:30 a.m. on Thursday Oct. 27th through Saturday Oct. 29th, said Justin Schulberg, RUSA President, and a School of Arts and Sciences senior.
“Students can expect a buffet line serving water, hot dogs, fries, chicken, and mac and cheese that will be set up at the Morrell street area in front of the College Avenue Student Center,” said Schulberg.
According to him, this effort has only been attempted once before, and proved highly effective.
“We did this on the weekend of syllabus week. Over Friday and Saturday night, we handed out over 3,000 water bottles and 1,500 servings of food at the CASC and by The Yard. Neither night did we have food or water left over, it was gone by 12:30 a.m.,” said Schulberg.
RUSA hopes that their efforts will not only expand the time in between drinking at pregames and drinking at parties, but that it’ll engage other organizations to promote a safer drinking culture on campus, one where eating food and drinking water when going out is the norm.
RUSA’s initiative is one that aligns with the RUPD’s drinking concerns during Halloween weekend, but the Detective Lieutenant of the RUPD still insists students reach out for help should they need it.
“If students find themselves in a situation were they are left alone or separated from their group, we urge them to call 732-932-7211 and they can request a security officer to escort them to their campus address or a nearby bus location. Our priority is always their safety.”