College officials encourage students to participate in responsible partying


Addison Greene

Locals party at Scandals nightclub in downtown Asheville.

Addison Greene, [email protected], Staff Writer

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

“Partying can mean a lot of different things. Getting together, having a good time, listening to music, dancing and the social aspect of it can be really beneficial,” Criser said in an interview from October. “Of course once alcohol is involved, or maybe even recreational drugs, it 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. 

She said substance abuse is a nationwide issue amongst college students and it’s 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 ‘Oh parties, it’s all about drugs,’ because that’s clearly not what is happening,” Criser. “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 our students are that much interested in parties,” she 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 UNC Asheville, said parties focus on not being sober and 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 in an interview from October. “I feel like a lot of the time parties are based on 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 happening. It’s all kind of 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 where no one ever parties and there’s people who party everyday. 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 former resident assistant at UNC Asheville, said there is an irresponsible and a responsible way to party. 

“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 quickly. There are negatives and positives to it,” Ford said in an interview from October.

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.”