Safer Partying, Substance Use & Consent

Practice Safer Partying this St. Paddy's Day - from Student Wellness

Safer Partying

Having fun with friends is an important part of the university experience! At U of G, we are focused on fostering a safe and inclusive community. Below are tips for keeping yourself and others safe when staying in or going out.

Before You Go Out

  • Plan a safe way home: check out the City of Guelph's Late Night Bus Service & Daily Bus Service Routes and keep your phone charged so you can call a cab or order an Uber, and/or look up directions
  • Bring your identification with you in case you need assistance and identification is required
  • Eat something filling before going out. This is especially important if you plan to consume alcohol. Check out Hospitality Services menu and hours
  • Pack snacks and water in your bag
  • Only consume what you bought or brought
  • Download the SafeGryphon app. The app features several services, including:
    • Click to Call: connects to emergency services
    • Friend Walk: share your location realtime with a friend
    • Call SafeWalk: a free service that provides a safe and reliable escort after dark for any person on the University of Guelph campus
  • Charge your phone or pack a charger in your bag

While You're Out

  • Have water or other non-alcoholic drinks in between consuming alcohol. Bring a reusable water bottle with you that you can keep filling up
  • Stick with your friends and look out for each other. Share your locations using Google Maps or SnapMaps to keep track of one another if you separate
  • Don’t share drinks, joints or equipment: only consume what you bought or brought
  • Avoid mixing substances – stick to using one substance at a time
  • Look out for friends. If you see something, say something. If you or a friend needs help, ask for it: use the SafeGryphon app, contact Campus Safety Office (519-840-5000), call 911 
  • Travel safely and whenever possible walk with at least one friend. Make use of SafeWalk. Be respectful of neighbour’s homes and properties while travelling. We are all part of the same community
  • Reduce your risk of fines by registering your party with Off-Campus Living
  • Attend a safe party session held by Student Experience
  • All tenants on a property lease are equally responsible for all activities at their residence 
  • If a complaint is made, compliance officers will typically address noise issues, public urination, garbage and property standards 
  • Remember you can be fined for the following offences: littering or urinating in public; excessive garbage in your yard; excessive noise; setting of a false fire alarm
  • Remember fire safety: keep all residence exits clear of obstructions and keep the road clear for emergency service vehicles
  • U of G does not condone large unsanctioned gatherings. Large crowds combined with the consumption of substances can create a volatile and dangerous environment for participants, first responders and neighbours. Make safe choices: gather at a friend’s house or go to a downtown establishment

Safer Substance Use

If you choose to consume alcohol or substances, there are things you can do to have a safer time.

Please be aware that alcohol can only be consumed in licensed areas on campus. We are a smoke-free campus; this includes cannabis and electronic cigarettes. 

Make a Plan

  • Figure out where you are going, how you are getting there, and how you are getting home
  • If you're not going home, figure out where you are sleeping
  • Decide which substances you are using – remember, it’s best not to mix
  • Decide how much you are going to consume and what time you want to stop
  • Eat something before you start drinking
  • Drink water or something non-alcoholic between alcoholic drinks
  • Drink slowly – have no more than 2 drinks in any 3 hours
  • Stick with your group and look out for each other
  • Remember that if someone is asleep, unconscious, excessively intoxicated or incapacitated that they are unable to consent to any sexual activity. Consent is mandatory when it comes to sex
  • If you’re planning to drink a lot, ensure you drink with a friend in a safe place, and stick to one substance at a time
  • Take it slow! See how a little bit affects you before using more
  • Not all cannabis is the same: look for higher CBD to THC ratios
  • If you’re smoking, use joints (instead of water bongs) and don't hold your breath!
  • Stick with your group and look out for each other 
  • Remember that if someone is asleep, unconscious, excessively intoxicated or incapacitated that they are unable to consent to any sexual activity. Consent is mandatory when it comes to sex
  • If you are planning to consume a lot, ensure you are with a friend in a safe place, and stick to one substance at time

Steps You Can Take:

  • Make sure someone knows where you are going and what time you will be home 
  • Stick with friends while you are out
  • Be aware of what is going on around you and avoid situations that make you uncomfortable 
  • Never accept a drink from someone you don’t completely trust 
  • Do not drink something you did not open or see being opened or poured 
  • Do not leave your drink unattended. Remember: drugs can be put in non-alcoholic drinks as well. If you return to your drink and it has been moved, looks different, appears to have been topped-up and/or tastes strange, discard it
  • When drinking from a bottle, keep your thumb over the top
  • If you begin to feel really drunk after only one or two drinks, get help from a trusted friend or a staff member at the establishment

Warning Signs You’ve Been Drugged (effects can start within minutes of consuming the spiked drink):

  • Feeling dizzy or faint 
  • Feeling sick or sleepy 
  • Feeling intoxicated or confused, even if you have only had one or two drinks 
  • Passing out 
  • Waking up and feeling uncomfortable, disoriented with memory blanks 

If You Think You Have Been Drugged:

Report the incident to Campus Safety Office or Guelph Police Service as soon as possible. Most drugs leave the body very quickly: the sooner you are tested, the more likely the drug will still be in your system.  

If you fear you have been sexually assaulted while drugged, you can connect with our Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Support Coordinator at 519-824-4120 x53020 or email

*Seeking support and/or disclosing does not require you to report. You get to choose whatever support options are best for you!


Consent Reminders

Understanding consent and respecting each other’s boundaries is essential at all times. Consent requires communication and checking-in to ensure that everyone is comfortable and safe.

Consent is as simple as I'M SAFE:

  • INFORMED: There needs to be a clear and honest understanding of what someone is consenting to
  • MOMENT-TO-MOMENT: Consent is an ongoing process. People can change their minds, want to stop and withdraw consent anytime
  • SPECIFIC: To a certain act and at any given time. Just because someone gave consent before, doesn't mean they consent now
  • AWAKE AND AWARE: Consent cannot be given if someone is unconscious, asleep, excessively intoxicated, or incapacitated
  • FREELY GIVEN: Consent cannot be given if you have power or control over another person or if you turn someone’s “no” into a “yes” through guilt, manipulation or pressure
  • ENTHUSIASTIC: This means it’s clear, active, engaged, ongoing and unmistakable

Need support? We're here for you!

If you or someone you know has been impacted by sexual or gender-based violence, you can connect with our Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Support Coordinator at 519-824-4120 x53020 or email

*Seeking support and/or disclosing does not require you to report. You get to choose whatever support options are best for you!


Party Alternatives

It's okay if the party scene isn't for you. You might not be in the mood to drink, use other substances, or be in large crowds. Maybe partying isn't your thing, or you're anxious being around crowds. Maybe you're choosing not to use substances or your bank account can't handle another night out.

Whatever your reasoning, it's okay to make another choice. It may feel like everyone is drinking, but the 2019 survey of U of G students by the Canadian Postsecondary Alcohol and Drug Use Survey showed that a third of students don't consider themselves heavy drinkers.

Fun Alternatives to Partying:

  • Attend a smaller gathering
  • Missing family or friends back home? Visit someone you haven't seen lately!
  • Explore Downtown Guelph and check out a board game cafe, escape room, coffee shop or vintage clothing store
  • Take some time to enjoy the Arboretum
  • Find an event to attend on GryphLife
  • Try some fun mocktail recipes (find recipes on our Instagram!)


Important Emergency Numbers

U of G Campus Safety Office: 

Emergency: 519-840-5000 

Guelph Police Service:

Emergency: 911 


On-campus walking escorts. Service runs daily during fall and winter semesters, 7:30pm until 2:30am. There are several ways to access:

  • Dial x53200 from any on-campus telephone
  • Push the SafeWalk button on any payphone on-campus
  • Press the talk button on any Emergency Pole and ask the University of Guelph Campus Community Police dispatcher for a SafeWalk
  • Approach any SafeWalk team of volunteers walking around campus at night

Guelph-Wellington Women in Crisis: 

24 hour confidential & anonymous sexual & gender-based violence support for all genders 


Here 24/7: 

24 hour mental health & substance use support OR 1-844-437-3247