Celebrate Safely

The College of Arts and Science Commencement was held in May 2021 in the UB Stadium on North Campus. These images are from the morning ceremony, celebrating the Arts, Natural Sciences, Math and Interdisciplinary Programs.

Published May 17, 2024

It’s up to you to decide whether you want to use alcohol and other drugs — and if you do decide to, we’re here to help you and your friends reduce risk.

With commencement ceremonies here and summer just a moment away, many of us are looking forward to celebrating, and relaxing and unwinding before whatever comes next. For some, commencement season might involve a fancy dinner with family, and for others it may mean some final parties with friends. However you decide to celebrate, the Office of Health Promotion is here to provide some tips on not letting your celebration get the best of you.

Please remember, alcohol and other drugs are strictly prohibited at degree conferral ceremonies taking place in Center for the Arts and Alumni Arena and though most of our graduates and their families are of legal drinking age, commencement does not need to be a reason to throw safe habits to the wayside. Most college students – including most students at UB – make responsible choices when it comes to alcohol and other drugs. Follow the tips below to maintain safe habits and celebrate without taking a toll on yourself.

Pace your drinks to 1 or less per hour

The human liver can only metabolize one standard drink per hour. By keeping track of your drinks and pacing them to one per hour, you can ensure that you are not consuming more than your body can metabolize. Though Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) varies from person to person depending on sex assigned at birth, body size, and a number of other factors, this also can prevent your BAC from spiking too high, too quickly.

Alternate non-alcoholic drinks with alcoholic drinks

Alternating alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic drinks, such as water, not only helps to ensure you are not consuming too much too quickly, but also helps to prevent dehydration. Alcohol dehydrates and dehydration is one of many symptoms of alcohol poisoning. Staying hydrated can reduce the negative effects of alcohol and can even reduce your chances of waking up with a hangover the next day. This is even more important in warmer weather and summer months. 

Eat food before or while drinking

Eating before or while drinking can help to slow the absorption of alcohol and prevent your BAC from spiking too quickly. Many people believe that foods high in carbohydrates, such as bread, are the best to eat when drinking because it will soak up the alcohol, however, this is a myth. The best foods to eat are those high in protein because protein takes longer to break down and stays in the body longer. However, if you’re deciding between eating a piece of bread and eating nothing, eat the bread; protein may just be a little more helpful.

Make plans to avoid driving after drinking alcohol

Driving while under the influence puts your own safety, as well as the safety of others at risk and consequences can be severe and costly. But good news - 91% of UB students make plans to avoid driving after drinking. If you or your usual driver plan on drinking before you need to be somewhere, make plans to secure a designated driver or use an alternative mode of transportation such as Uber or Lyft.

Set yourself up for success

Congratulations for completing another year, and to our graduates, congratulations on your degree. Graduation can be a time of many transitions and a time to take a look at your behaviors, goals, and values. With this, you may decide to make some changes to your drinking habits or may just want to get to know your drinking patterns and risk patterns more, and know your limits. If you need help taking a look at your usage and risk and would like personalized feedback, consider taking an online assessment such as eCHECKUP TO GO.

Alternatively, AOD specialists are available to meet with students one on one to discuss concerns about oneself or others, as well as any topic related to alcohol and other drugs, and can be reached by contacting the AOD Harm Reduction Program Coordinator.

For our graduates, resources off campus include Horizon Health Services, ECMC and Alcoholics Anonymous, among others. 

For more services and opportunities like this:

Health Promotion

Student Life

University at Buffalo
114 Student Union, North Campus
Buffalo, NY 14260

Phone: (716) 645-2837; Fax: (716) 645-6234