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University of Iowa News Release

 

Aug. 16, 2010

UI announces ‘Think Before You Drink’ initiative for football season

Iowa Hawkeye football fans have high hopes for the upcoming football season. To help make the 2010 season a more complete success, the University of Iowa is planning a new initiative aimed at making the game-day experience exciting and safe for all fans.

“Think Before You Drink. Before the Game. During the Game. After the Game.” is the message of the new campaign, which seeks to reduce unsafe behavior linked to excessive drinking. It involves a wide range of university offices, in cooperation with community leaders and law enforcement agencies, working together to enforce some new rules and step up enforcement of others.

“Our fans are the nation’s best—they are enthusiastic and respectful of others,” said Gary Barta, director of intercollegiate athletics. “Many of our fans consume alcohol on game days, and they do so responsibly. However, a small minority drink too much and cause problems for themselves and others. To those folks, we say, ‘Please think before you drink. Don’t put a black eye on the black and gold.’”

The emphasis on safe and responsible alcohol consumption is part of a larger UI and Iowa City effort to move the UI alcohol culture closer to the national norm, says Tom Rocklin, vice president for student services. “Think Before You Drink” comes on the heels of a vote by the Iowa City Council to implement a rule that allows only people over the age of 21 in bars after 10 p.m.

Rocklin explains the scope of the problem by noting that nearly a quarter of UI undergraduates report having suffered physical injury as a result of alcohol use within the past year. That’s one and a half times the national average.
But don’t confuse that concern with prohibition, Rocklin insists. “The University of Iowa is not interested in prohibiting the consumption of alcohol on game days. However, we are firmly committed to doing what we can to prevent unsafe and illegal consumption because that contributes to a positive experience for everyone.”

The initiative means that UI Police and other officers will be enforcing some new rules and stepping up enforcement of others:

-- Consumption of alcoholic beverages in UI parking lots and ramps will be allowed for only one hour after each game, and all tailgating activities must end two hours after the game. In addition, no after-game consumption of alcohol will be allowed for the Oct. 2 night game against Penn State.

-- After the game, police will be emphasizing impaired driving enforcement, which may include vehicle safety checkpoints, increased road patrols, and OWI enforcement teams. The UI encourages all drivers to be safe and sober on their way home.

-- Iowa City’s open container ordinance will be strictly enforced. That law prohibits people from carrying open beer, wine and “hard” lemonades on public sidewalks and roads.

-- Police will have no tolerance for persons urinating in public.

UI Police will provide a post-game news release and police arrest log as part of a continuing effort to remind fans of the goals of the “Think Before Your Drink” campaign.

“We want all alumni, students, and fans to have a good time,” Rocklin says. “We encourage people who choose to drink to drink responsibly, because the only way we are going to reduce the number of Hawkeye students hurt by their misuse of alcohol is by working together.”

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Moore, 319-356-3945, thomas-moore@uiowa.edu