BEST Night Out: Support for Event Organisers

Cambridge SU believes that every student has a right to be safe, supported and empowered to have the BEST night out possible. We've put together a series of recommendations with expanded tips for organisers.

Cambridge SU believes that every student has a right to be safe, supported and empowered to have the BEST night out possible. With the reopening of nightlife and party venues over the coming weeks we want to ensure that all students feel able to participate safely in post-examination celebrations. We believe that no one should expect to face harassment or harm of any kind on a night out, and that we must work together to build safe and inclusive spaces on campus.

While party organisers are not individually responsible for the harms that may occur on a night out, there are a number of measures that can be taken to help embed safety throughout the planning process for events. We’ve produced a short checklist for student volunteers of JCR/MCRs and student societies to assist them in creating a safer nightlife experience. Signing up to this checklist commits organisers to striving to embed each of these measures in all of their events.

We've put together a series of recommendations with expanded tips on how to make your event the BEST Night Out possible!

Our Recommendations

  1. Ensure that you have a clear and well-signposted policy for dealing with harassment and assault.

  2. Ensure that all any students staffing events (e.g. stewards or bar staff) have either received bystander training or read our SU guide.

  3. Establish a policy on drinks spiking and minimise the risks by using individual drinks, clear signage and briefing bar staff on the risks.

  4. Follow COVID-19 guidelines and ensure that these are included in all events promotion.

  5. Establish a designated quiet zone for a time out, or if necessary, for people to talk through an incident.

  6. Provide non-alcoholic options & free water on request.

  7. Provide gender neutral toilet and changing facilities.

  8. Keep your events accessible ! - Provide an access statement & follow the Disabled Students Campaign guidelines.

Further guidance/suggestions:

Ensure that you have a clear and well-signposted policy for dealing with harassment and assault.

  • Include policies and a designated point of contact for complaints on your website.

  • Student volunteers & staff should be aware of what to do when receiving a complaint.

  • Work with the venue or Porters to ensure anyone behaving inappropriately is removed from the event.

Ensure that all any students staffing events (e.g. stewards or bar staff) have either received bystander training or read the Good Night Out guide.

  • Community responses are central to building a safe night out environment and volunteers must be fully supported in responding and intervening.

  • Hold a group information session going through our guidance and discuss the relevant action to take in different scenarios.

Establish a policy on drinks spiking, and ensure bar staff are fully briefed on the risks.

  • Include a zero tolerance policy for spiking in event promotion.

  • Minimise the risk of spiking by using pre-packaged & individual drinks.

  • Put small signs up around the venue reminding attendees not to leave drinks unattended.

Follow COVID-19 safety guidelines, and ensure that they are included throughout the venue and in events promotion.

  • COVID-19 means that attendees will have varying comfort levels, reassure them that your event will follow government guidelines.

  • Establish a track and trace system - the venue should have a pre-existing QR code or create your own on the government website.

  • Use clearly visible floor markings to support social distancing.

  • Provide hand sanitiser and spare disposable masks.

  • Ensure events promotions remind attendees about distancing guidelines.

Create a designated quiet area so that people can go for a time out, or if needed, to talk through an incident.

  • Social events can be overwhelming - ensure it is away from noisy or populated areas.

  • Make sure it is clearly signposted and included in access statements.

  • Maintain safety in these zones using clear floor marking for distancing.

Keep your events accessible!

  • Use the Cambridge SU Disabled Students Campaign Accessibility Pledge & guide.

  • One key component of access is signposting beforehand if someones access needs are met; the DSC website has an access statement generator you can use in promotional materials.

Have free water and non-alcoholic options available.

  • Not all students will want to drink alcohol - make sure you are catering to their needs by providing a range of non-alcoholic options.

  • Remind bar staff that free water must be available upon request; this will help attendees remain hydrated.

Offer gender neutral bathroom provision on site.

  • A lack of gender neutral toilet facilities can present a risk to trans, non-binary and gender non-conforming students who are at risk of being policed in these types of spaces. The LGBT+ Campaign outline the importance of gender neutral toilet facilities and provide some practical recommendations in their Why Gender Neutral Campaign.

  • Cover gendered toilet signs with a poster reading "toilet" adding details of if cubicles or urinals are available.