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Some holidays and events seem to call for alcohol, and San Luis Obispo is no stranger to these occasions.
Using data provided by the San Luis Obispo Police Department (SLOPD) and University Police Department (UPD), Mustang News conducted a survey of 3-4 years of alcohol-related arrests that occurred in both San Luis Obispo and on Cal Poly’s campus during events that have a reputation among locals. Week of Welcome (WOW), Halloween, St. Patrick’s Day weekend and Cesar Chavez Day weekend are included, and minor in possession and public intoxication arrests are recorded in the survey.
Click on the arrows on each chart below to scroll from year to year.
WOW is Cal Poly’s freshmen orientation, which lasts less than a week.
According to the numbers, WOW has had a large amount of alcohol-related arrests in the past. The WOW program has slowly made changes that are meant to decrease the numbers, Andrene Kaiwi-Lenting, director of New Student and Transition Programs, said.
One of the changes is having WOW groups have activities later at night so new students don’t have the opportunity to go out to parties. Kaiwi-Lenting said the program has focused on using these changes this past year, and she hopes they will be effective in the years to come.
“I always hope that we are going to shift the culture,” Kaiwi-Lenting said.
Halloween weekend in San Luis Obispo and on campus is generally quiet. Part of the reason for this is many Cal Poly students go to Isla Vista’s Halloween event instead of staying in town.
This year, the dean of students at University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) bought an advertisement in the print edition of Mustang News, asking Cal Poly students to stay away from the area near UCSB.
St. Patrick’s Day weekend — including St. Fratty’s Day, a St. Patrick’s Day party widely attended by Cal Poly students — was relatively quiet this year. SLOPD Captain Chris Staley attributed the low amount of alcohol-related arrests downtown to several factors. One was that St. Patrick’s Day landed on Monday during Cal Poly’s finals week. Another was the threat of double fines for misdemeanors such as alcohol-related offenses during the holiday.
Following suit with St. Patrick’s weekend, alcohol-related arrests on Cesar Chavez Day were low this year. Typically, Cal Poly students celebrate at Shell Beach, located in Pismo Beach.
But according to Pismo Beach Police Department Cmdr. Jake Miller, there were hardly any students in attendance this year. He attributed the low turnout to the cold and rainy weather on the beach that day.