A new program at John Carroll University called “Party Smart” seeks to give John Carroll University students the information and resources they need to create healthy relationships with their community neighbors.
“Many students look forward to living off campus, seeing it as an opportunity to enjoy expanded freedom outside University control,” says Megan Dzurec of the JCU Health Promotion & Wellness Program. “Still, some students forget that other neighborhood residents have rights, too.” In response, the Health and Wellness program has recently developed the “Party Smart” brochure, a collaborative effort from Residence Life and the Violence Prevention and Action Center and JCU Health and Wellness program which seeks to educate students regarding their responsibilities as good neighbors when they live in off campus housing.
“We know, based on our conduct records and interactions with community members, that John Carroll students choosing to house off campus can sometimes create enormous problems for the neighborhoods in which they live,” Dzurec explains. “This puts a strain on campus and community relations and compromises the health and safety of all area residents—not just students.” She continues, “We view student alcohol and other drug problems, and sexual violence as whole community problems, not just campus problems.”
The brochure, which has been made available to the student population in both paper form and online, features a list of “Party Smart Hosting Tips” for those at the parties, alcohol is likely to be present. In relatable language the advice includes to “limit the number of people you invite,” “set expectations for guests,” “be considerate” and “keep the noise down and people inside.” As incentives to “serve food” and “make sure your friends get home safe,” the Office of Health Education & Promotion offers to deliver up to two free pizzas weekly to respondents of their online survey, and to provide an Uber ride gratis to students who call using the promo code “BLUESTREAK15.”
The ultimate goal of the “Party Smart” initiative is to provide information to off campus students, which will hopefully empower them to make responsible decisions when hosting parties and gatherings. Dzurec emphasizes how important it is “for off-campus residential students to have support from on-campus resources to create a bridge of communication in support of healthy living in the JCU community.” Dzurec continues, “We want students to meet their neighbors, exchange contact information, and be cognizant of the noise levels and disruption that can occur while hosting a party. We live in a beautiful, family-centered community, and beer cans strewn across a lawn or noise that awakens those who are sleeping can negatively impact our role in the greater community. We also want students to be aware of the risks of serving underage students alcohol and ideas for being a responsible host.”
The brochure contains information about both community and JCU resources for health and safety. Students who live off campus are asked to review it, and then adopt action plans to instill a sense of mutual respect with their neighbors.
“This is one of the many prevention efforts we have implemented at JCU to curb high-risk drinking and demonstrate care for our students,” says Dzurec. “When I think of being men and women for others, it goes beyond the social justice work that we do within the classroom and through various service opportunities. We must think of caring for others in every aspect of our lives, whether it is within the residence halls on campus or while living next door to someone who, ideally, is not a stranger to us. Living off-campus as a college student is essentially a small glimpse into the communities we hope to live post-graduation, and this should include knowing and respecting ourselves and our neighbors through our positive interactions.”