For most students, exams and assessments are behind you and it’s time to celebrate! Check out our top tips for looking after yourself and celebrating the summer safely.
For most students, exams and assessments are finished for the summer and it’s time to celebrate! While it’s great to have a good time, it’s important to look after yourself and your friends too.
So with that in mind, we wanted to give you a quick refresher of some helpful tips, schemes, and organisations that can help you have fun, stay safe, and be left with nothing but good memories!
Whether you're on an Otley Run, at a nightclub, or at a friend's house, these are just a few things to be mindful of that will help to keep you and your friends safe:
Whether you're drinking alcohol or not, it's always a good idea to stay hydrated when you're at gatherings, especially if they're indoors! Lots of people packed in tightly together under one roof raises temperatures, particularly in nightclubs where there's dancing involved, so staying hydrated is important!
If you're starting to feel tired or sluggish, it's likely that you're dehydrated; so, grab a glass of water, take five minutes to rest, and rejoin the fun after you feel more refreshed. It's even more important to stay hydrated if you're consuming alcohol, as it will help minimize the effects of alcohol so that you can still have fun, without it taking too much of a toll on you physically and mentally.
Not only does having a glass of water in between alcoholic drinks help to keep you sharp, but it also refreshes your palette so that your drinks will taste even better! Plus, the better hydrated you are whilst drinking, the less likely you are to feel hungover afterward!
Look out for each other
It goes without saying that you should always be mindful of those around you. If you're on a pub crawl with a large group, make sure no one gets left behind. If you're in a new nightclub, make sure you scope it out together so that nobody gets lost!
If you're at a friend's house, watch out for other guests you might not be familiar with, and make sure everyone in your group feels safe! It's also a great idea to be mindful of how much everyone has had to drink, or what they've consumed. If you think one of your friends has had too much, it might be time to grab some water for them to sober up or tap out and call a taxi to head home together.
Whilst it might be frustrating if one member of the group peaks earlier than the rest, safety comes first. There will always be the chance for more nights out, but alcohol poisoning and overdoses are serious; look out for each other and know your limits so that you know not to overdo it.
Call it out
Looking out for your mates is really important, and part of this also includes calling out bad behaviour. If one of your mates is making someone else feel uncomfortable whilst you're out, tell them to stop.
Maybe someone rejected their advances but they're still trying to flirt, or they're taking advantage of someone who has had too much to drink - this is harassment and needs to stop. If you see this happening to someone you don't know, you should report it or intervene as soon as you can, if it is safe to do so.
Ask For Angela
Many bars and venues in Leeds are a part of the city-wide scheme Ask For Angela. If you experience or witness any kind of inappropriate behaviour whilst in an Ask For Angela accredited venue, you can head to the bar and ask if Angela is working.
This will let that member of staff know that you need help with a problematic individual, including removing the individual from the venue, taking you to a safe space, calling you a taxi home, and contacting the police if necessary.
You can find the map of Ask For Angela venues here. It's worth noting that the Ask For Angela scheme can be used by ANYONE, not just customers at the venue. This means if you're waiting for a taxi, bus or walking home and someone begins making you uncomfortable, you can head into an Ask For Angela venue to get help.
Keep your drinks safe
After the recent rise in spiking, many bars and venues have taken precautions to help patrons keep their drinks safe. Many venues will now offer drinks covers, bottle stoppers and testing kits behind their bars for free, so that you can keep your drink safe from tampering and test it if you suspect it may have been spiked.
If you think your drink may have been spiked, look out for sudden changes in colour, taste and consistency, such as a sudden lack of or increase in bubbles or foam. If you think you or a friend has been spiked, watch out for a sudden loss in capacity (e.g. they seem very drunk very quickly,) vomiting, and losing consciousness. Alert a member of staff as soon as possible and seek medical attention.
Spiking someone is a form of assault and can land you a 10-year prison sentence.
Plan how to get home ahead
If you're going out, make sure you know how you're going to get home safely later. Whether that's taking the last bus home, walking with a friend or getting a taxi, make sure you and your friends have coordinated this beforehand, so you all know you'll get home safely at the end of the night.
It's also worth knowing that in case of an emergency and you've got no cash on you, you can take an Amber Car home with our Safe Taxis Scheme. Call Amber Cars and quote the Student Safe Taxi Scheme, and the operator will send a car out to your location as a priority.
When the car arrives, give the driver your Student Card and Leeds Beckett SU will ensure the fare is paid. You can then visit the SU later on to settle the bill and pick up your card.
It's always useful to have a game plan before heading out! Be sure to take necessities with you; keys, phone, jacket! You could also take some extra loo roll, sanitary products and condoms, as you never know when you or a friend might be caught short, or where the night will take you! It's always better to safe and prepared, and you can pick up free sanitary products and condoms from the LBSU Office every day of the week.
It's also a good idea to get familiar with the warning signs of adverse reactions to drugs, aka, a bad trip. You can find these out with Forward Leeds alongside additional information and advice about safe partying, so you know what to do if you or a friend needs help.
These are just a few ways that you and your friends can stay safe! There are lots more organisations both local to Leeds and nationally that you can utilize if you want to find out more about staying safe on nights out, or if you're worried about someone close to you and their relationship with alcohol and other substances.
Forward Leeds & No Regrets Leeds are great local organisations that provide information and advice on alcohol, drugs and harm reduction in Leeds.
Our official night out partners Voodoo Events have shared how they're keeping you safe at their events which you can read about in their handy guide.
The Leeds Sexual Health Clinic in the Merrion centre provides free sexual health screenings, advice and contraceptives.
For those worried about drug abuse, be it for yourself or a friend, visit Talk To Frank for help and advice.
Leeds Nightline is a great resource for students in Leeds who may be struggling and need someone to talk to during the night hours and is available 8pm – 8am on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays & Saturdays during university term time for students to call.
Student Minds is also a fantastic organisation, who provide a wealth of resources for all students who may be struggling with their mental health during their time at university.
Have fun & stay safe!