by Shaylyn MacKinnon
This past Saturday, December 2, was the widely anticipated Holiday Ball and, surprisingly, there were no transports. The Holiday Ball has been notorious for rowdy student behavior and transports due to intoxication for years.
The Drew Acorn reached out to the head of Public Safety, Bill Ortman, for comment on this surprising turn of events. When asked if the rumor that there was not a single transport the entire night, Ortman responded, “[T]his is accurate and it is the first time in memory of some who have been associated with the Ball for many years that there were no transports, no one removed from the dance, or anyone getting ill.”
Ortman was in attendance at Holiday Ball for some time, and said of the experience, “It was great to see so many of the campus population enjoying themselves responsibly.”
The role of Public Safety officers shifted slightly for Holiday Ball, adjusting to ensure that the night ran as smoothly as it did. Seven Public Safety officers were on duty, which is three more than normal according to Ortman. “They assist with ensuring outsiders are registered, that everyone attending has ID, that guests and bags are checked for weapons and contraband, that no one is too severely under-the-influence of anything to enter or remain and that no one sneaks in through unauthorized entrances,” explained Ortman.
Residential Advisors appreciated the lack of transports just as much as the Public Safety officers. Kyle Gniazdowski (’20) commented, “Honestly the suites have been excellent this semester and especially this past weekend with Holiday Ball.” Gniazdowski continued, explaining how being aware of one another’s level of intoxication helped to keep anyone from going too far. “I’m super pleased, and the fact that everyone has been very aware of themselves and their friends has made a very large difference.”
Britney Stewart (’18), another RA, commended the responsible drinking of the Drew campus as well. “These residents are adults and they’re able to take care of themselves,” said Stewart. “But it was still reassuring knowing that there were no transports this weekend.”
According to Ortman, transports as a whole over the course of the semester have been “close to the same as last year” despite the lack of any during Holiday Ball, though Ortman also explained, “[t]ransports are always much higher at the start of the fall semester, typically because first year students have yet to learn to pace themselves. Public Safety works with Res Life and Student Activities to try and make food more available at big events, as fuller stomachs take longer to become saturated with alcohol, and to encourage Good Samaritan response.”
While the number of transports this semester are neither up nor down from past semesters, Ortman noted, “Good Samaritan calls by other students are way up.” A Good Samaritan call is a policy that allows a student to call for assistance if someone is significantly intoxicated without the fear of jeopardizing themselves as they are given immunity if they are drinking underage. This policy is meant to promote a safer drinking environment and avoid any unmade calls for fear of repercussions when a student seriously needs help. Ortman described this increase in Good Samaritan calls as “a very positive development.”