flingmert

The Medical Emergency Response Team plays an especially important role on campus during Fling, when alcohol-related illnesses are more common. | DP File Photo

Spring Fling is only one weekend of the school year, but many groups spend much more time than that planning for these three days.

Every year, the Division of Public Safety coordinates with the Vice Provost for University Life and the Medical Emergency Response Team to prepare for Spring Fling to make sure all students are safe.

The school sees many hospitalizations and alcohol-related incidents during Fling. As most students are underage, the Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement keeps a schedule of all of the spring festivities on campus and tracks which houses pose the most problems.

“If you want to meet Penn Police and Liquor Control Enforcement agents, have the biggest party, play the loudest music and have your house look like a clown car with people falling out the doors,” Vice President for Public Safety Maureen Rush said. “Then we’ll meet you.”

“If you don’t want to meet us,” Rush added, “have a nice, orderly party.”

DPS and Penn officials know that Fling is a time to let off some steam and enjoy the weekend before everyone has to study for finals. They want students to be able to enjoy Fling while staying safe.

Rush warned students about the danger of throwing house parties when students do not know who is in their homes. Strangers outside of the Penn community could enter someone’s house during a party and steal their valuables.

During Fling, DPS and MERT also watch out for people who need to be hospitalized for alcohol-related medical reasons or for sexual crimes.

“We’re pretty much experts at this,” Rush said.

Rush noted that during the Penn Police Ride-Along, coaches, members of the Office of Student Conduct, the Director of the Office of Alcohol & Other Drug Program Initiatives and professors can accompany Penn Police when they are working during Fling.

MERT helps cover the concert on Friday night and works late into the night to ensure the safety of Penn students.

“They are invaluable to us on Spring Fling weekend,” Rush said.

DPS also suggested students download the Penn Guardian app. In case of emergency, students can call Penn Police or contact them through the app, and Penn Police will then be able to track a student’s GPS location.

If a student feels unable to speak about an incident due to an allergic reaction or fear of being overheard, the student could text Penn Police through the app.

Students can also submit confidential tips to police through the app. This can be useful during Fling if a Penn student sees someone in need of medical attention at a party and does not want to be seen as the one who called the police.

“We want everyone to have a great Spring Fling,” Rush said. “Our goal is to make sure that people are safe and that they are protecting each other. Be a good bystander.”

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