As first-years move on to Trinity’s campus, they may anticipate enjoying newfound independence after unpacking is complete and parents have finished saying goodbye. While first-years will undoubtedly look forward to the social atmosphere and hilarity of college parties and mixers, the university wants first years to understand the consequences of underage drinking both on and off campus. Trinity looks to protect each and every student on campus by enforcing several policies regarding drinking.
If first-year students contemplate or plan on drinking while underage, it’s important to understand Texas state laws and consequences. It is illegal in the United States for anyone under 21 to consume alcohol under any circumstance. However, Trinity does its part to protect students by acknowledging the possibility that underage students might consume alcohol.
“Our focus is to create a safe environment for our students to make mistakes. As funny as that sounds, we are not here to be punitive but to assist our students in whatever they may need assistance in,” said Paul Chapa,Trinity police chief.
Many members of the Trinity University Police Department (TUPD) have personal connections to their job that encourage them when dealing with cases relating to alcohol consumption.
“Our team members truly understand the challenges that come with being a college student as many of our officers have been through similar experiences. Our officers have a wealth of experience in the profession, and many are parents as well.” Chapa said.
The Trinity Alcohol Coalition, composed of students, faculty and staff, has three tenets related to the consumption of alcohol by Trinity students.
First, the university “cares deeply about the health and safety of students,” meaning that the health of each student is the most important issue. Second, the university “acknowledges that students will drink, but discourages irresponsible drinking.” Third, Trinity “enforces policies related to alcohol possession, and consumption.” Administration wants students to view Trinity as an ally — the university understands that many students will drink before turning 21.
“I think Trinity’s policies are fair because they know it’s not like students don’t drink at all. They’re very realistic,” said Nicole Woods, a senior Spanish and chemistry major and member of ResLife.
Trinity University assumes no responsibilities for events or parties thrown off campus. It is students’ responsibility to be aware of their surroundings, and make sure to have a reliable ride when considering drinking.
“The responsible friend policy is a great idea. Say someone goes overboard at a party and needs help; we want you to be responsible and reach out to TUPD. You won’t get in trouble because you’re doing the right thing,” Woods said.
While students are responsible for their actions, the University implements programs to help prevent alcohol-related dangers. One of these is the Optimal Buzz Standard. Optimal buzz can be different depending on sex and weight. Trinity’s Alcohol Policy page says “you’ll experience the pleasures of the Optimal Buzz if you keep your BAC in the range of .04-.06,” which usually consists of just one drink per hour. It clarifies that everyone is built differently and can’t drink the same amount. The aim of alcohol policies is not to hinder students’ fun, but to make sure they’re enjoying themselves responsibly and safely.
“Be smart, be responsible and be safe. Most situations we run into involve students who are being too loud and/or irresponsible,” said Mary Kelly, a sophomore music major and member of ResLife. “Ultimately, your safety is most important and these policies are in place to ensure that.” Kelly said.
Not everyone will have the same opinions or make the same choices while drinking, but never put yourself in a situation where you’re uncomfortable. You’ll find several groups of people who want the best for you here. Welcome to Trinity and stay safe!