WSU Greek leaders take unique approach to make parties safer

Lots of parents worry about their college-aged kids, off for the first time and getting in trouble at parties. Sorority and fraternity leaders at Washington State University are trying to make it safer for students to attend with a unique strategy.

This week, that’s especially important because the first week of the semester for WSU students, known as ‘Syllabus Week’ to students, is a popular week for parties. During heavy social weeks, like this one, Pullman Police reports hundreds of incidents on College Hill and around the city.

In past years, to keep parties and events safe and strictly to students – anyone who wanted to get through the door, might’ve needed to show their student identification card, also known as their Cougar Card. But in a further effort to make security tighter, they’ll need to show a wristband as well.

Speaking the college language of 18 to 22-year-olds – it’s ‘Syllabus Week’. A week for parties and minimal schoolwork that starts the term.

Because it’s well-known, it tends to bring uninvited guests.

“We really value keeping our community safe, in times when it is a higher risk week – like Halloweek or Syllabus Week,” said Ani Duni, WSU Panhellenic President.

Which is why sorority and fraternity leaders at WSU introduced the wristband system, a simple band given to all members of the college’s Greek community.

“Purpose of that is to ensure all members that are participating in these events understand the rules and regulations that our organizations go by,” said Austin Proteau, WSU Intrafraternity Council president.

While the wristbands may look like a way of entry to parties, the main idea is to hold people accountable for their actions.

“They know the risks when they’re going to drink. They know they’re in a safe environment,” Duni said.

The wristbands also provide an easy and simple resource in case of emergency.

“There’s a phone number on the wristbands that if there is an emergency – you call, and someone is on call 24/7,” Duni said.

WSU Greek leaders said they’ve dealt with party crashers before, and with the wristband system – they hope they won’t have to ever again.

“It just helps us know that the people who don’t understand our policies, and don’t understand our community won’t be coming in and causing problems for us, that we won’t be able to control. It just helps us control the situation, and really make sure that all of our community feels safe,” Duni said.

WSU Greek leadership said they first introduced the system for the week of Halloween in 2017. The amount of positive response they received was overwhelming, so they continued to use wristbands for all major events that followed. Both the WSU IFC and Panhellenic presidents said they hope to continue using the wristband system for years to come, and all future major events to promote a safer environment.

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