ADAPT leads student education efforts prior to Foxfield

IFC, ISC, ADAPT, ODOS work together to curb unhealthy drinking behaviors on race day

IFC, ISC, ADAPT and ODOS are working together to make Foxfield Races safer for student attendees. Richard Dizon | Cavalier Daily

As many University students make preparations to attend the 41st annual Foxfield Races on April 28, groups on Grounds are making efforts to educate their peers on safety prior to race weekend.

 Foxfield is known for being an event where some attendees drink excessive amounts of alcohol. Last year, five people were arrested on drinking-related charges — down from 20 the year prior — as arrests at Foxfield have generally declined over the past several years. 

In recent years, the Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Team at the University has led the charge in student education efforts prior to Foxfield. ADAPT works closely with Albemarle County Police, the Office of the Dean of Students, the Inter-Fraternity Council and the Inter-Sorority Council in order to provide ample education for students participating in the events of Foxfield weekend. 

Miranda Gali, ADAPT co-chair and a fourth-year College student, said the Safe Foxfield Races Campaign began 17 years ago after the University recognized a need for greater promotion of healthy behaviors during Foxfield. 

“The Foxfield campaign has been in existence in some form since around 2001,” Gali said in an email to The Cavalier Daily. “It was started when a need was identified for more safety programming during this high risk period for students.”

ADAPT held two sessions of its annual Foxfield Education Session Monday evening in Newcomb Hall. Co-hosted with Albemarle County Police and representatives from Foxfield, the presentation focused on alcohol education, how to stay safe at Foxfield and general information about race day. The program specifically emphasized information about medical facilities at Foxfield and best practices for working with law enforcement.

“For ADAPT's portion of the program we try to cover the basics of staying safe while drinking … what preventative behaviors you can use, how you might plan for your day of drinking, et cetera,” Gali said. 

Gali said that the education sessions have been ongoing for several years, and that ADAPT works closely with the ISC, IFC and ODOS every year to help promote educational events for students throughout the University.

Wilkerson Anthony, a third-year Commerce student and IFC public relations chair, told The Cavalier Daily in an email that ADAPT’s Foxfield education sessions fulfilled Fraternal Organization Agreements — a series of six educational courses on topics such as sexual assault, hazing prevention and alcohol usage — that must be completed by all fraternity and sorority chapters at the University. 

“Although the University does not require the IFC to educate fraternity men specifically for Foxfield, the Foxfield Education Session fulfills the FOA requirement for Greek organizations,” Anthony said. “If fraternities would like this event to count towards their FOA requirements, they are required to send at least [two-thirds] of their members to the event.”

Anthony also said that ADAPT works with the IFC to make educational resources known to every chapter, including free wristbands for students on the day of the race to keep track of their plot number and avoid getting lost. 

ADAPT also encourages students to sign the “Savvy Fox Pledge” — an oath wherein students commit to participating in safe behaviors at Foxfield — on Grounds the week before the races and operates a student safety tent at Foxfield on race day.

Gali said that in 2017, the ADAPT safety tent handed out hundreds of gallons of water, as well as sunscreen and snacks, and that the tent was successful in helping reduce consequences of dehydration and unhealthy alcohol usage. 

“Last year negative consequences were definitely reduced, and we want to continue on that trend this year,” Gali said. 

Representatives from the ISC and ODOS did not respond to requests for comment. 

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