All Students
Cedric Bernard Rucker, Interim Dean of Students

Dear Students:

I hope your Spring Break was relaxing and your return to classes is going well. The sunshine and greening grass confirm spring is coming soon. With warmer weather on the way and St. Patrick’s Day this weekend, I would like to remind you of the importance of making smart and safe choices when celebrating socially this time of year. 

Most students do not engage in hazardous or unhealthy drinking. Those who do place their own well-being and safety at risk, while also negatively affecting their friends. Each year at this time, we see an increase in alcohol consumption and the serious consequences that often follow. Our primary concern is always for your safety.

Safety Reminders

I encourage you to avoid alcohol if you are under the legal age to drink. Even if you are of legal age, consuming fewer alcoholic beverages in an evening (fewer than 5) can reduce your chances of serious safety risks. If you do choose to drink, several simple precautions can help minimize risks to yourself and others.

  • Stay in a group in which at least one person remains sober and make sure no one is left behind.
  • Charge your phone and keep it with you so you can call for help if needed.
  • Pace and Space: Sip your drink instead of chugging, alternate with water or soda, and have no more than one (1) drink per hour. On average, it takes nearly three (3) hours for most people to eliminate the alcohol in two (2) standard drinks.
  • Eat before and while drinking: Alcohol is absorbed into the bloodstream more slowly when there is food (especially protein) in your stomach.
  • Avoid mixing alcohol with other drugs: Any drug, even over the counter (antihistamines and sedatives, for example), can increase alcohol's effects. Caffeine and other stimulants can trick you into feeling less impaired.
  • Use caution when sick or tired: When you're sleep-deprived or ill, alcohol enters the bloodstream more quickly, causing your Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) to spike.
  • Be aware of your environment: Alcohol can cause greater impairment when drinking in locations that are unfamiliar. Try to avoid drinking alcohol in places where you’re new and might feel disoriented. Even a change in beverage color (e.g., green) can impact tolerance and increase impairment.
  • Keep track of your drink. If it’s been out of your sight, throw it away. If you don’t know what is in a drink (like green punch), choose something else.
  • Look out for your friends who are drinking and make a plan to stay in touch throughout the night. Using the buddy system, sharing locations on your phones, and/or making a plan to check in at regular intervals can all help ensure you and your friends stay safe.  
  • Use "PUBS" as a guide to the signs of alcohol overdose and call 911 if you see even one sign. If you are unsure, call the Poison Center at 1-800-222-1222 for free, confidential, expert advice.
    • Puking while passed out
    • Unresponsive to pinching or shaking
    • Breathing is noisy, slow, shallow, or has stopped
    • Skin is blue, cold, or clammy. If a person has darker skin, check for pale lips or nailbeds.
  • Medical Amnesty: Remember, students who request medical attention for themselves or for a friend, and who cooperate with first responders, are protected under Virginia law and UVA policy from disciplinary action for personal consumption of alcohol or other drugs.
  • Resources: Utilize all safety resources, such as UTS OnDemand, Charge-a-Ride, Safe Walk, and the UVA Ambassadors, who provide security in areas near the Corner.
  • Concerned about your drinking? The Collegiate Recovery program can help. It's confidential, nonjudgmental, and designed to assess potential risk and self-identify realistic changes that could work for you.

You are a vital part of our UVA community, and you have the power to make choices that protect yourself and others. Thank you for taking steps to create a safe environment for everyone this weekend and in the future.


Cedric Bernard Rucker
Interim Dean of Students