The Quest for a Safer, Better Wet Season
When Dry Week comes to an end, many students participate in Wet Season. Wet Season to some is a celebration of the end of dry week—a time to let go, relax, and enjoy yourself. For others, it can be a stressful first experience with alcohol on a college campus or a dangerous celebration with too much drinking.
Freshmen finish New Student Orientation a week before Wet Season, so they typically remember the alcohol education talks. But upperclassmen forget the training they received over a year ago. They are excited to hang out with the friends they didn’t get to see all summer, and they look forward to hanging out and getting to know the frosh near them. So out come the kegs and the hard liquor.
Wet Season in the past has involved many cases of severe alcohol poisoning and even hospital runs. Last year, 4 students were taken to the hospital for alcohol poisoning (1 Mudder), and over 50 students vomited. This year, nobody was taken to the hospital, and around 15 students vomited. Of course, 15 students vomiting is 15 higher than ideal, but the point is that there’s improvement.
The changing culture can mostly be attributed to the work done by several students, in alignment with the Division of Student Affairs (DSA). Achintaya “Ace” Bansal ’17 and Joanna Ho ’17, both New Student Orientation Leaders for the Class of 2019, worked on various improvements to Wet Season. The improvements included a food truck, games in the quad, and a professional bartender serving classy alcoholic drinks and Mudd Wellness peers serving non-alcoholic beverages. The goal was to provide alternative entertainment to students so that drinking was not the only option for fun that night.
Within the DSA the charge was lead by Dean Leslie Hughes, Interim Dean of Students and Title IX Coordinator. Working with Bansal, Ho, and other student leaders, Dean Hughes was able to update school policies regarding serving alcohol. A notable update is that a maximum of two bars can be open at one time in a given dorm, and only trained student bartenders can open the bars.
“I am hopeful we will continue to improve the safety of our community as time goes on,” Dean Hughes said.
Students seem to be generally happy about the changes to Wet Season. We got free food and drinks sponsored by the DSA, enjoyable lawn games to play, and nobody ended up at the hospital.
“I was really happy with how the student body responded to the changes,” Bansal said. “Nobody was negatively affected, and I think that student leaders charged with keeping other students safe were less stressed. There are still a few things we can work on for next year, though, and I’m excited to see how much more we can improve.”