Playing it safe off campus

It’s 2 a.m. and you just left an off-campus nightclub – any number of nightmare-like situations could ensue. How do you get home? Has your friend had dangerously too much to drink? Where do you go from here?

The solution to your problem could be on one convenient card, small enough to fit into your wallet – the “Safe Night Out” card. These cards were distributed to all freshmen as part of a new GW Housing Program initiative and they hope other students will start to follow their lead and request them on their own.

“Ultimately, we want students to think about their plan for going out. How will they take care of their friends? How will you know when you are putting yourself at risk?” Assistant Director of Housing Devin Cogswell said.

The Safe Night Out program is a practical way for GW Housing to support smart decision-making on the part of students, along with safe behavior concerning alcohol. Since the University cannot watch over students when they venture out for the evening, Housing hopes these cards are a way to help keep them safe.

On the front of the cards there are six different important phone numbers for GW-related services including GW Hospital, 4-RIDE and the University Counseling Center. The card also includes information about the Metro, bus and shuttle schedules, and taxi services.

The back of the card lists several signs of alcohol poisoning in addition to some questions regarding the safety of students and their friends.

The University has partnered up with Pita Pit in Ivory Tower, which gives students a 10 percent discount on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights if they present the card when purchasing a late night snack.

“We hope to expand the program to other local businesses as a community partnership to support a safe environment,” Cogswell added.

Not all students will choose to utilize the information these cards provide, but for those using it for something other than a Pita Pit discount, the “Safe Night Out” cards have been reported as being very beneficial.

“Students have shared stories of how the cards have been used to quickly provide information for students in difficult situations,” Cogswell said.

He recalled an example of students who called UPD after using the card to recognize the symptoms of alcohol poisoning in their friend.

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