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Staying Safe in New Haven

By Benedict H. Gross

The Harvard-Yale Game is a great tradition; this is the 122nd meeting of the two teams. Each year more than 10,000 alums return to watch the game and to see old friends. I hope you will join them. Unfortunately, this can also be the most dangerous day of the year for students at the College. I wanted to write you about some of the events planned, and about some basic issues of safety.

This year we are reviving an old Harvard tradition—the pre-game Pep Rally. On Thursday night at 10 p.m in Harvard Yard, Coach Tim Murphy, the members of the football team, and the cheerleaders will lead a rally. The Harvard College band will be escorting students from the Houses to the Yard. Please show your support.

Our House Committees have been working with Campus Life Fellow Justin H. Haan ’05 and Yale students to develop a comprehensive map and list of events taking place in New Haven over the weekend. The map will show you the locations of the Commons, the Yale Colleges, and other Yale facilities. Enjoy New Haven, but make sure you walk around with a friend and know where you are going. The weekend list of events includes several joint Harvard-Yale concerts featuring (among others) the Harvard Callbacks, the Harvard Glee Club, the Radcliffe Pitches, and the Din and Tonics.

Friday night Yale is throwing a campus party at the Commons Dining Hall, from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m., with food and music (the admission charge is $2). There will be no private parties in the Colleges.

This year our freshmen have been paired with Yale Residential Colleges and Harvard Houses for the first time. Freshmen are welcome to the tailgates at the House with which they have been paired. Free food (with Harvard ID) will be available starting at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday at the Yale food station, located near the student tailgate area. HoCo’s have worked with Harvard University Dining Services (HUDS) dining hall managers to supply breakfast food and bottled water to tide you over until the food station opens.

While we work to revive old traditions, we are also working to break the pattern of heavy drinking that led to over 40 students being sent to local hospitals during The Game last year. Unfortunately, the number of admissions to University Health Services (UHS) for alcohol related health issues continues to be high this fall—over 50 students so far, with several cases serious enough to require intubation.

This is a cycle we must break. What can you do? First of all, there is no need to drink to have a good time. If you do choose to drink, please

* Keep track of how many alcoholic drinks you consume.

* Make a plan: set a reasonable limit and stick to it.

* Pace drinks to one or fewer per hour.

* Stay hydrated.

* Be sure to eat before and while you drink.

* Alternate non-alcoholic beverages with alcoholic beverages.

* Don’t participate in drinking games— Yale bans them at their tailgates.

Also, please be careful where you choose to party. I have spoken to the students who are hosting the Takeover party at the Gotham Citi club. This is eight to nine blocks away from the Yale Colleges, so they are arranging transportation. Please use it. If you are driving in a group to New Haven, and plan to return home on Saturday, please designate a driver who will not be drinking during the day. While you enjoy this weekend, remember to take care of yourselves and your friends.

Next year The Game will be held at Harvard. We need a demonstration of responsible behavior this year to be able to plan our on-campus celebration in 2006.

Benedict H. Gross ’71 is Leverett Professor of Mathematics and Dean of Harvard College.

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