Indiana Daily Student

Students have alternatives to partying during Little 500

The service that sophomore Allie Wineland offers her friends during the weekend of Little 500 is a bit like Uber but with more of a personal touch. This year, ready in a blue Toyota Camry, Wineland will shuttle her friends around campus to different fraternities and sororities and make sure they get where they want safely.

“When they need something, I’m more than willing to go help them out,” Wineland said.

Little 500, which will take place on April 21 and 22, not only brings thousands of visitors to Bloomington but is a big party weekend at IU. It is similar to Halloween at University of Wisconsin or Unofficial, a Saint Patrick’s Day celebration, at University of Illinois. Some students like Wineland choose to be a designated driver instead of partying.

Wineland drove her friends for Little 500 last year, too. She said she was inspired by the story of a woman who offered people free rides to people on New Year’s Eve after her son was killed by a drunk driver on the holiday.

Wineland works around her friends’ schedules. She said she will drive them whenever they need, especially during the busiest party times. She will likely shuttle them Friday and Saturday between 12 and 3 a.m.

Last year, some offered to pay her, but she refused. Wineland declined because she said she would much rather drive them than they get in an expensive Uber or a pledge ride.

“Friends are an important part of my life,” Wineland said.

OASIS Director Jackie Daniels said she’s noticed students are taking more personal responsibility and the Culture of Care movement means something to students, especially when it comes to protecting friends and making plans ahead of time for transportation.

OASIS is a campus group that operates through the IU Health Center. The group counsels and educates students on drug and alcohol prevention and intervention. While Little 500 is as a peak party weekend, she said they are working all year to take a collaborative and comprehensive approach to drug prevention, even as early as orientation.

There are about 600 students on campus who are still in recovery from drug or alcohol addiction, Daniels said.

“Some are students impacted by family addiction or may have recently lost someone from the opioid epidemic,” Daniels said.

Other groups are offering alternatives to partying on Little 500 weekend.

One example Daniels gave was Late Nite at the Indiana Memorial Union. Late Nite takes place from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Fridays. The Hoosier Dens, late-night entertainment spaces, in Foster Quad and Read Center are open until 2 a.m.

Additionally, Daniels said she encourages students who can’t or choose not to drink to do something they’ve never done before like go to a late night movie at the IMU, visit a cultural center, attend a musical or eat at a new restaurant.

Daniels grew up in Bloomington and attended IU. She said in the 1990s, the weekend was even crazier than it is today. She remembers there were more than 400 arrests during Little 500 weekend. People overturned cars and set a complex, once known as Varsity Villas, on fire.

“What’s happened over time is the campus has put more resources in educating students on safety,” Daniels said.

Olivia Davidson, an alumna who attended IU from 2011 to 2015, chose not to drink during Little 500.

“I wanted to have the Little Five memories instead of drinking them all away,” 
Davidson said.

Born in Bloomington, Davidson had always been around the Little 500 race and traditions, but said she chose not to participate in the partying because she said she likes to be in control of her body.

“It’s more fun to go and sit downtown and watch everyone else acting like fools,” 
Davidson said.

Still, Davidson said she knows that choosing not to drink during Little 500 was different than what a lot of students chose to do.

“It happens loads of times where I’ve been called a grandma or a party pooper,” Davidson said.

Wineland also got these types of comments last year when she chose to drive friends instead of party.

“I didn’t have a problem chilling in my dorm with my roommate,” Wineland said. “Making sure friends are safe is a little more important to me.”

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