Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Like a Pro: Party Etiquette

You may or may not have noticed by now, but college students often like to party. Shocking, I know. According to the Union Leader, I still know how to party, so I would like to share some advice on that very subject. No matter where you go out at night to party, whether it is a fraternity, on campus apartments like the Greens, the Gables or off campus you will run into the same type of characters. There are the heavy drinkers, the ravers, the awkward guy in the corner, but everyone is there for the same reason: to have fun. Parties are a great way to burn off some stress at the end of the week. Or during the week. Or on a Sunday. Why not? This is college. The last thing that a party needs is drama, so relax, be social and have fun.

There will always be students ready to turn it up to eleven and sometimes that is completely necessary if the time, place and situation call for it. Just be aware of your surroundings, if everyone else is sitting around a table playing games and you are dancing on top of furniture by yourself, then you may need to turn it down a few notches. Reversely, if everyone else is dancing and you are alone in the corner you will look more out of your element than Smalls the first day he showed up at the Sandlot.

The most important party rule is to respect the host and his or her rules. There is nothing worse than hosting a party and not being able to enjoy yourself because people are acting too out of control. The host is taking a risk by throwing a party and the last thing you want to do is be the one responsible for getting a party busted or getting the host in trouble. This is most common with parties in the Gables or Woodsides where CAs must monitor noise levels. Remember on the weekends that quiet hours end at 1 a.m. If you are hosting, make sure everyone is cleared out by then or CAs will come-a-knocking.
This can be applied to how you act after leaving a party as well. If you are stumbling down the road and Durham's finest stops you, there is a pretty good chance they will ask you where you came from. Now, I am not telling you to lie to a police officer, but being vague such as saying a street name or just "a friend's apartment" can save that party from being discovered or busted. Saying the exact address is not the best option in that situation.

I was at a party last year that was busted because people who were smoking cigarettes outside had beer in their hands causing neighbors to call the police. Those kids were 21 and on private property, but when the cops arrived they shut it down because of the noise, even though it was not actually too loud. This could become even more of a problem if Durham's new ordinances are put into place. Common sense is usually the first thing to fade away after or during a night of drinking, but usually not everyone is at the same stage of intoxication. If you have the common sense to say something, speak up because getting hurt or arrested is way more of a buzz kill then telling someone to ease up.

I do not want to give off the impression that rowdy parties are bad; in fact they are usually awesome. Simply understanding the difference from a Gables apartment and an off campus apartment is essential in keeping a party at the right level. Be loud and have fun, but you must be aware of the time and your neighbors. This is really up to the host because they are at fault even if it is one of their guests who attracts the unwanted attention. At UNH, parties cannot go all night and people need to be able to realize that fact or they will get in trouble, whether it is with the university or local police. It all comes down to a matter of respect for the host, neighbors and authority. Without that respect things are going to get shut down early. So UNH, go out and have fun at night and party hard, just realize that there is a difference from being "that guy who got the party started" and "that guy who got the party shut down."

Stay classy, not UMassy.

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