University of Wisconsin–Madison

Be Smart and Safe About Alcohol Choices

By Matt Tragesser, Communications Intern

As we close in on summer fun, it’s important to remember to be smart about alcohol use.

Specifically, the Memorial Union Terrace, a favorite spot for UW students, faculty, staff, and visitors, is committed to providing a safe environment for all patrons which includes being a responsible distributor of alcohol by:

  • Using state of the art identification scanners to ensure patrons purchasing alcohol are of legal age to do so.
  • Monitoring the seating environment and randomly ask for IDs of patrons consuming alcohol.

If purchasing a pitcher of alcohol with a legal ID, it is your responsibility to ensure that those you share the alcohol with are over the age of 21. Wisconsin state law and university policy prohibit individuals under the age of 21 from possessing or consuming alcohol at the Wisconsin Unions, including the Memorial Union Terrace.

Director of the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards Tonya Schmidt, said that violators of these rules will be subject to disciplinary action. “The most common sanction for them [violators] is a university reprimand, which is a formal warning from the university. We have a couple different alcohol education options for them. We want students to learn and reflect upon their behavior,” Schmidt concluded.

For students that are of age, the following tips are highly recommended and encouraged:

  • Please drink alcohol and water wisely. Remember to stay properly hydrated as dehydration and fatigue can occur, especially during these warm summer days.
  • If you are a bystander who acts responsibly or are a victim who is hurt while underage drinking, you are will generally not be subject to disciplinary action. Remember, Badgers take care of each other!
  • If you see someone in danger from alcohol use (such as someone who has passed out), seek immediate help by calling 9-1-1 and staying with that person until medical assistance arrives.
  • If you been a victim of a violent crime while under the influence of alcohol (such as sexual assault), neither the Office of Student Conduct & Community Standards, University Housing, or the UW-Madison Police Department will pursue disciplinary actions against the student victim (or against a witness) for their illegal consumption of alcohol.
  • For more information about responsible bystander behavior in alcohol emergencies and protections for victims of crimes, see the UW-Madison Responsible Action Guidelines and the UW Madison Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act.
  • And lastly, check out the following story about the impact of detox and the price of binge drinking here.

“We want to make sure that [of-age] students are drinking at a low level and that students remember that when it can be really hot, to avoid drinking more alcohol and instead alternate drinks with food and water,” she recommended.

Please keep all of this in mind as you enjoy the beautiful Memorial Union Terrace and its many summer events.

“We have to remember the union terrace space is very special. We should make sure we maintain the atmosphere where people of all ages can come and enjoy the space,” Schmidt added.

Enjoy the rest of your summer and please reach out to the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards if you have questions regarding our shared responsibility in helping our students succeed academically.

Enjoy the last month of summer and On, Wisconsin!