Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Officials stress spring break safety

As is customary during spring break, many students said they plan on vacationing at the beach for the week of spring break to relax and momentarily cease thinking about papers, deadlines and any other form of schoolwork.

UA officials and employees say taking a break from school should not entail discarding responsible actions and wise choices. Away from campus, students should conduct themselves the same way they normally do, and it would be beneficial for students to use even more caution than they normally would, said Michelle Harcrow, assistant director of health education and promotion.

Advice from UAPD

Making responsible choices for spring break should start before leaving an apartment or house for an extended amount of time.

The UAPD Web site,, said students should make sure all doors and windows are locked before they leave and remove valuable items, such as laptops, gaming equipment and expensive jewelry from their apartment or house. Major appliances would be better left unplugged, the Web site also said.

While vacationing, it’s imperative that students avoid reckless behavior, especially if they are consuming alcohol.

“We say it’s being a hero to your friends to be the designated driver,” said Andy Liles, a UAPD crime prevention and community services officer. “It always works better to have a designated driver to look after the whole group. [The group] can have the same designated driver the whole week or they can rotate designated drivers throughout the week.”

Alcohol influences the potential that a person may be harmed or taken advantage of, so it is sensible to use a buddy system, he said.

“When you socialize, you should always take at least three or four people with you, and never leave a person behind because when you do, that person has to make a choice about how to get home,” Liles said. “They have to decide if they’re going to take a chance and drive home after drinking, if they’re going to go home with a stranger or if they’re going to walk home.”

Walking may seem like the best option, but Liles said, “There is no assurance they’ll make it home if they choose to walk.”

What the student health center says:

It’s necessary to wear sunscreen, stay hydrated and try to keep exposed skin covered during the day’s peak hours of 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

“People will say [they’re] using SPF 4 or 8, or even 15, but for SPF 15 to be effective, you have to apply it at least every 30 minutes, and when you’re sweating, it has to be more often than that,” Harcrow said. “Anything less than SPF 15 is pointless, and 15 is only beneficial if you put it on very often.”

Harcrow recommends using SPF of at least 30 because it’s still possible to get a tan while simultaneously blocking harmful UV rays.

To stay hydrated, a person should drink eight to 10 cups of water per day and even more if a person is drinking alcohol.

“Alcohol does dehydrate you, so [students should] make sure to alternate drinking alcohol with non-alcoholic beverages, preferably water,” she said.

She also said packing things like acetaminophen and hand sanitizer is also a good idea.

“Not only is it smart, it’s more economical, because prices are marked up in spring break vacation hot spots,” Harcrow said.

Overall, she said, students should use good common-sense safety efforts, such as staying aware of their surroundings, wearing a seat belt (especially over the break when many people will be traveling) and planning ways to avoid drinking and driving.

Students make plans

Corey McCormick, a junior majoring in geology, said he is going to Destin, Fla., for the break with seven friends.

“With that many people, I’m sure someone will be willing to be the designated driver, even though the same person may not volunteer every time,” he said. “My girlfriend isn’t 21 yet, so I doubt we’ll be going to bars much anyway.”

He also said he’s not worried about anyone getting separated from the group.

“It’s basically a couples-type trip, so it’s not very likely that anyone would just wander off with a stranger,” he said.

Andrew Fox, a junior majoring in communication studies, said he’s going to Panama City, Fla. with his girlfriend and several of his fraternity brothers, and some of them will also be bringing their girlfriends. This will be the third year Fox has vacationed in Panama City with a group of friends.

“The place we’re staying is in walking distance to the bars, and we’re all good friends, so there’s no way we’d leave anyone behind,” he said. “We’ve been planning this trip for months now, so we’re well prepared for anything that may happen.”

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