The widespread partying that took place before Cal Poly classes began last year won’t repeat this week if university officials can help it.
A change in scheduling of the university’s Week of Welcome orientation activities this year is part of an ongoing effort to discourage student drinking and misbehavior.
WOW activities are scheduled from Wednesday through Sunday this week.
In past years, WOW was scheduled just on weekdays, leaving many new students free on two consecutive weekends before classes.
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Last year, WOW activities took place from Sept. 15 through Sept. 19 (Tuesday through Saturday). But the move-in schedule left some students with free time on the weekends, university officials said.
Move-in this week for on-campus housing started Monday instead of the weekend, and classes begin this Monday, Sept. 20.
“I think we can attribute a lot of the partying last year to the two weekends before classes,” WOW coordinator Andrene Kaiwi-Lenting said. “But I drove around campus this weekend, and it was extremely quiet.”
The San Luis Obispo Police Department issued 95 citations and 30 arrests among college-age people for alcohol-related violations from Sept. 10 through Sept. 21, 2009.
And Cal Poly’s University Police Department cited 43 young people and arrested another 42 from Sept. 12 through Sept. 21, 2009, of whom 55 percent were Cal Poly students, according to university police Chief Bill Watton.
“We stayed very active during the two weekends before the start of classes last year, when large amounts of alcohol were consumed,” San Luis Obispo police Chief Deborah Linden said. “Cal Poly had a series of meetings to discuss the situation.”
The Police Department was given the chance to give input, but it was Cal Poly’s decision to change the orientation schedule, Linden said.
WOW for new students includes community service activities, presentations on drug and alcohol awareness, and discussion about a respectful relationship with the San Luis Obispo community.
Linden said municipal ordinance changes implemented in the spring to curb partying, noise and underage drinking appear to be working. The new laws target all San Luis Obispo residents, including students.
Linden noted a 25 percent decrease in noise disturbances since a new ordinance was implemented in March that gives violators only one warning before citations and fines may be issued.
Linden noted a 40 percent decrease in the month of May — a typically busy party month as school winds down — compared to 2009.