All Students
Christopher P. Holstege and Cedric Bernard Rucker, UVA Student Affairs

Dear Students:

We hope everyone is settling in to a great semester and enjoying the nice fall weather. We’re writing to share some tips and resources to keep you healthy and safe while celebrating Halloween.

Some students may be using alcohol differently this weekend – either drinking for the first time or drinking more than usual. We are heartened that most UVA students are responsible when it comes to alcohol use and are doing their part to be active bystanders and intervening (direct, delegate, or distract) when they notice a potentially problematic situation. This is positive and absolutely critical to keep our community safe. Thank you.

Remember PUBS
Although the vast majority of students either don’t drink or drink in lower-risk ways, we also know that students may come across someone who needs help.

Never hesitate to call 911 if you see even one of the PUBS signs or even if you are not certain it is a substance use emergency.

Puking while passed out
Unresponsive to pinching or shaking
Breathing is irregular, slow, shallow, or has stopped OR
Skin is blue, cold, or clammy. For people with darker skin, check for pale lips or nail beds.

If you're unsure, call Poison Control (1-800-222-1222) for free, confidential medical advice 24/7.

Call, Care, Cooperate
For details on how to help others in an alcohol emergency, check out the  Call, Care, Cooperate resource from your Peer Health Educators. Remember:

  • UVA will not pursue disciplinary action (for personal consumption of alcohol or other drugs) against the person being helped and the person who asked for help.
  • This applies to calling 911 or getting an RA/SR to help in a potential emergency situation.

Safer Strategies
We encourage you to make decisions this Halloween weekend that protect your health and safety and do not negatively affect friends and others. If you or your friends choose to use substances, consider these safer strategies:

  • Make a plan with friends and help each other stick to the plan.
  • Sip on and/or pace alcoholic drinks to one or fewer per hour.
  • Eat protein before and while drinking.
  • Stick to a drink limit.
  • Watch the drink being made and do not leave it unattended.
  • Avoid mixing alcohol with other medications/drugs.
  • Be aware that cannabis ingredient labels and serving sizes are often inaccurate, so side effects can be unpredictable.
  • Utilize all safety resources, such as UTS OnDemand and Safe Walk, as well as the UVA Ambassadors in vehicles and on patrol. Also, don’t forget to download the TimelyCare app so you can access free, virtual mental health care if and when you need it.

Finally, out of respect for all, please be sensitive to how others might perceive your costume.

Thank you for taking responsibility for your own safety as well as that of other community members. Have a fun and safe Halloween!


Christopher P. Holstege, M.D.
Interim Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer

Cedric Bernard Rucker
Interim Senior Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students