Wellness Connection gives SBCC safe partying tips for Halloween

Alexis Smith, Channels Staff

Students dressed in mouse ears and funky hats stood in front of Luria Library and passed out Halloween decorated condoms to promote the Wellness Connection’s annual “Party Smart/Safe Halloween Event.

“We do this to inform the City College population about safer partying, safer sex and offer alternative events for those who don’t want to drink this weekend,” said Roxane Pate, Wellness Connection program adviser. “This is just outreach to get people thinking a little bit more as they go into the weekend.”

Pate recommends that partygoers not let drinking be the primary focus of celebrating the holiday, and to stick to only one drink. Partiers should not mix alcohol with drugs or substances, and pay attention close attention to their drinks, she said. Lastly, she said to plan a safe way to get home or to provide others a safe place to stay if they cannot make it home.

The Pacific Pride Foundation, Isla Vista Foot Patrol, Alcohol and Drug Program and City College ambassadors set up booths on campus from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Students participated in condom relays, sex trivia and pouring demonstrations. For the pouring demonstration, students were given “drunk goggles” and asked to pour what they think is a normal serving size of alcohol into a mix drink. Most participants were unaware of how much alcohol they were pouring, Pate said. Free HIV and hepatitis-C testing was also provided by the Pacific Pride Foundation.

“What I also want people to take away from this event is awareness about sexual assault and not be a bystander this weekend,” said Nichole Riofrio, wellness connection co-president. “If you see something that isn’t right then to step up or notify law enforcement.”

Riofrio believes this event will help those partying this weekend how to identify consensual and safe sex.

On Saturday, Oct. 29, the school will be hosting a Good Neighbor Festival in City College’s parking lot, followed by the football game and a showing of “The Nightmare Before Christmas.”

With alternative activities like these, James McKarrell, resource deputy of Isla Vista foot patrol, believes this is a reason why Isla Vista has been considerably calm over the past couple of years.

“I think being apart of the event is helpful to students by avoiding negative encounters with police force,” McKarrell said. “This gives people the opportunity to talk to us, and I have brought some Isla Vista Halloween safety tips.”

In 2014, there were 28 misdemeanor arrests, 16 citations and seven medical transports.

To avoid negative encounters, residents are asked not to play music past 6 p.m. and to avoid large crowds or out-of-town visitors. It is not advised to have open containers of alcohol. There will checkpoints on certain blocks in Isla Vista and double the amount of usual foot patrol, with some on horses. Fines will also be double their normal amount.

“It’s a bummer residents and visitors from previous years made the Halloween weekend restricted for people living here now,” said Michaela Baker, student and Isla Vista resident, “but if it’s best for the population’s safety then maybe more rules are needed.”