College official says university students directly affected by partying positively and negatively


Addison Riley Greene

Locals party at Scandals nightclub in downtown.

Addison Riley Greene, [email protected], Contributor

UNC Asheville’s Director of Student Success Regine Criser said partying and large social events can have positive and negative impacts on students.

“Partying can mean a lot of different things. Like getting together, having a good time, listening to music, dancing and the social aspect of it I think can be really beneficial,” Criser said. “Of course once alcohol is involved, or maybe even other recreational, or even other drugs can be a little more complicated. I think in college it’s all about balance.”

Criser said college students’ priorities can shift when introduced to party life and can become problematic if it begins to interfere with classes or work.

“Finding time to socialize. Going to a party, a club, or a concert is a great part of being in college, but if you do it too much or your priorities shift in that regard or if parties interfere with the work that should be your priority, then it can be really problematic,” Criser said.

Criser said substance abuse is a nationwide issue amongst college students and something to be mindful about, but isn’t necessarily what all parties are about.

“We know that it’s an issue for the nation. Not necessarily for campus, but clearly that’s something to be really mindful about,” Criser said. “We know parties are an environment where maybe your decision making can be impeded either by peer pressure or other reasons where you are more likely to engage in behavior that is overall not conducive to your long-term well-being.

Criser said she would like to see students socialize more and branch out of just hanging out in their dorm rooms in their free time.

“That is definitely an aspect, but I don’t want to sound as if like ‘Oh parties it’s all about drugs,’ because that’s clearly not what is happening,” Criser said. “I definitely want our students to socialize as much as possible. We are a smaller school and there aren’t as many parties. I’m not sure that our students are that much interested in parties.”

Criser said. “I want to encourage students to socialize in whichever way feels safe and welcoming, but I would love for them to all get out of their rooms a little more. Just find people to hang with in whichever ways feeds their soul.”

Aleen Ammar, a junior at UNCA, said parties focus on not being sober, and said there are ways to party without being under the influence.

“I’m someone who is not social. I also don’t drink, don’t smoke, I don’t do any of that,” Ammar said. “I feel like a lot of the time parties are based off not being sober, not that that’s a bad thing, it’s always great to have fun, it’s just not my scene, and if I were to go it would be just to observe.”

Ammar said there aren’t many parties on campus at UNCA, and the majority of them are held off-campus.

“Honestly, on-campus I don’t see much of it happen. It’s kind of all off-campus,” Ammar said. “If anything, UNCA kids meet up at a certain person’s house. I’m friends with a few athletes and I know there is a house that’s specifically for parties.”

Ammar said responsible partying can be beneficial for college students, and bad decision making can be avoided by not doing it so often.

“Obviously it’s OK to go out and party, have fun and live your life, but I think the way to do it responsibly is to not party so often,” Ammar said. “There’s two sides of partying, there’s a side that no one ever parties and there’s people who party everyday, but I think there is a happy medium there where you are taking care of yourself, making sure you are OK with your boundaries and what you are doing.”

Jessica Ford, a resident assistant at UNCA, said there is an irresponsible and a responsible way to party.

“There’s kind of that gray area,” Ford said. “I feel like it’s good to get out and socialize, especially if you’re a first-year or transfer student, but they can be a little hazardous and can get out of control really quick, but there is negatives and positives to it.”

Ford said substance abuse can play a big role in why parties can be uncomfortable or unsafe for students on a local and national level.

“I think substance abuse plays a really big role in why parties can become unsafe,” Ford said. “I think the national level is a lot worse and can be a lot more dangerous, looking at thousands and thousands of universities. More students equals more likelihood for bad things to happen.”