Roundup weekend prompts a slew of safety initiatives

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The kaleidoscopic blur of neon-colored apparel and partying that is Roundup will commence this weekend.

Officials overseeing the administrative side of the Greek-oriented event are bracing themselves for the weekend’s festivities, implementing a host of safety initiatives that will facilitate responsible decision-making and keep high school students out of parties and away from alcohol. 

Following several of the same safety initiatives carried out for Roundup 2012 — a relatively successful weekend that saw a decrease in filed police reports — the Interfraternity and University Panhellenic councils distributed 20,000 identification wristbands over the course of three days at several off-campus locations and outside the Student Activity Center on Thursday. 

Edwin Qian, a management information systems junior and member of the IFC, said the wristbands are primarily distributed to diminish the presence of high school students. Qian said Roundup is not a recruiting event for Greek organizations. 

“The wristband is mainly to keep the high school kids out this weekend,” Qian said. “If you have a UT ID, we scan it to verify your identity. The scanners we use are hooked up to the UT student database to make sure people don’t get more than one wristband.” 

Qian said participants need not be enrolled at UT. Students from all universities can attend Roundup as long as they present valid ID. 

“Since Roundup is pretty famous, a lot of non-UT students come to hang out with us,” Qian said. “We just have to verify that they’re of age or attending college.” 

Donald James McNamara, a finance junior and president of the IFC, said Roundup is not a UT-sanctioned event or in any way hosted by the IFC or UPC. Rather, all Roundup events are planned by individual Greek organizations. The IFC, UPC and Office of the Dean of Students partner to find ways to curb high school student attendance and assure the safety of participants. 

“Each individual fraternity is responsible for managing all aspects of their Roundup events, including attendance policy, event safety and risk management,” McNamara said. “All safety planning implemented by individual organizations should be in accordance with the IFC Risk Management Policy, each fraternity’s own risk management policy and all state and local laws.” 

McNamara said the IFC has no specific arrangements with law enforcement, but has hired third-party companies to deal with security and first response.

“We have not been in contact with the Austin Police Department, and Roundup is out of UTPD’s jurisdiction,” McNamara said, “but we do have our own EMS and ambulance on call for the weekend, just in case anything goes wrong.” 

Andrianna Frinzi, a communication studies junior and spokeswoman for the UPC, said each organization’s security and safety procedures differ, but there are minimum guidelines each organization must meet. 

McNamara elaborated on his own fraternity’s security procedures.

“Basically, there is a hired third party that will handle the front door at events,” McNamara said. “They will be asking students to present the IFC wristband in order to get in. Most places will also be checking student IDs just to make sure people are of age. If there’s alcohol present at the event, then there will be a third party handing out separate age-verified wristbands.” 

Greek organizations participating in Roundup won’t all be hosting parties. Ryan Lohmann, a civil engineering senior and member of the faith-based Beta Upsilon Chi, said his fraternity and Sigma Phi Lamda will distribute free water bottles to Roundup participants on the corner of 25th and Pearl streets. 

Taylor Villarreal, a journalism sophomore who will attend her first Roundup this year, said she is not worried about safety. 

“I know that Roundup has a reputation for being fun and very neon … and crazy, very crazy,” Villarreal said. “A lot of events are during the day, so I’m not concerned. It’s in West Campus, and I live pretty close. I have a lot of friends here, so a lot of people that are out I already know.”