cupsIf you’re like the hundreds and thousands of freshmen that came before you, you’re probably wondering what the deal is with drinking at Georgetown. Does everyone do it? Is it allowed? How can I get a keg into my room in New South?

We’ve all been there. While few freshmen are 21, it’s probably fair to say that a majority of them will drink alcohol at some point. No big deal. But while you’re out looking to have fun, it’s also important to be safe. Here are the answers to some of your burning questions …

Is it legal for me to drink?

Hah, No.

OK, so it’s not legal, but where can I do it anyway?

If you choose to imbibe in your room, you probably won’t get in trouble if you are responsible. Resident assistants don’t do random room checks on weekend nights. But if you are too loud (and having more than a handful of people in your room along with a turned-up iPod sound dock is guaranteed to be loud) or if people keep coming and going, or if people are running down the hall throwing up, the RA will notice and you will get in trouble. Be smart.

But drinking in my six-by-six cell of a dorm room is pretty lame. Where can I go to par-tay?

Especially at the beginning of the year, freshmen tend to walk around in hordes in West Georgetown and in on-campus apartment complexes like Village A, especially the rooftops, listening for noise and inviting themselves in to an assortment of parties. For freshmen, especially if there are girls in your group, that tends to be acceptable. The university has cracked down on party violations in the past year, so upperclassmen will likely be working the door and making sure there are no uninvited guests. What’s the best way to find a party? Someone on your floor is bound to have a sibling or teammate or high school buddy who lives in an apartment and will welcome you.

What if I get caught? Will I get in trouble?

If you are written up by your R.A., the situation will be documented and forwarded to the hall director, who will make a decision on disciplinary measures. Assuming the violation was limited to drinking in the dorm and being a bit too noisy, punishment is likely to include sanction hours, a fine and/or the AlcoholEdu online course. Repeated violations can end up on your transcript and can jeopardize your ability to study abroad or secure campus housing.

Do I have to drink?

Of course not! There are lots of students who don’t. Seriously, we’re not just being politically correct. Some students don’t drink and opt out of parties and that’s cool. Others don’t drink but still tag along to parties with their friends that do and no one notices any difference.

What is a Georgetown party like?

At some schools, guests are asked to pay for a cup. Thankfully, that’s not the case at Georgetown. Tradition has been that juniors and seniors throwing parties pick up the tab for freshmen, with the expectation that in a few years when they’re throwing the parties, they’ll pay it forward. It’s a nice system.

My friend had way too much to drink. What do I do?

If someone seems seriously ill, call Georgetown Emergency Response Medical Services (202-687-4357) and Georgetown’s student-run EMS service will respond. They arrive on the scene faster than D.C. Fire and Rescue, and the ride to the hospital is free. Otherwise, keep a close eye on your friend and keep them hydrated.

Does everyone have a fake ID?

No. Some do, some don’t. The social scene on campus is lively enough that you don’t need to venture out to bars.

I’ve got one! I’ve got one! Where can I use it?

The Hoya first cautions you against using it. Let’s be real – they work at some places. But a place that takes it one day may be strict the next day. Penalties for using a fake ID can be stiff. Last spring, Metro police seized fake IDs at Third Edition, a popular student bar located on Wisconsin Avenue. If your heart is set on drinking, it may be better to have older friends procure alcohol than taking a risk with a fake. Also, girls tend to have an easier time than guys using fake IDs. Sorry, dudes. Still, we know you’ve got them and you want to try them. Here is a list of where you really should NOT use a fake. Read between the lines: Dixie Liquors. McFaddens. The Tombs. (Seriously, few people get in with a fake each year. Don’t do it. Plus, everyone goes there on their 21st. Don’t ruin it.)

Where am I likely to bump into my classmates?

Third Edition (known to everyone as simply “Thirds”) has Top 40 dance vibe and is especially popular among underclassmen on Thursday nights. While a little longer walk, Rugby (1065 Wisconsin Ave.) is popular too. Rhino Bar and Pumphouse (3295 M St.) caters both to Georgetown students and an older crowd.

I get it. But where do upperclassmen go, just so I know for the future?

The Tombs is the classic Georgetown bar. Cozy up to a booth with friends and enjoying pretty inexpensive pitchers of Busch Light. Dancing is limited, as are your chances of meeting new people. M Street mainstays include Saloun (3239 M St), The Guards (2915 M St.) and Old Glory (3139 M St.). Adams Morgan (and U Street are fun spots beyond Georgetown’s confines.

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