If you are like the tens of thousands of new students who have come before you, you are likely curious about the Hilltop’s party scene. Surely, questions have popped into your head: Does everyone drink? (No.) How can I sneak a keg into New South? (Please don’t.) Should I buy a toga? (Make one.) Fortunately for you, we have the answers to some of your more burning questions.
Is it legal for me to drink?
Sorry, but unless you took three gap years after high school or took four years to pass eighth grade, probably not.
OK, so it’s illegal, but where can I do it anyway?
If you do choose to drink in your dorm room with your new friends, you probably won’t get caught — as long as you’re smart about it. Resident assistants don’t do random room checks, but making a lot of noise is an easy way to draw their attention — which hosting more than a few people and blasting your impress-my-new-friends-with-my-cool-jams playlist will probably ensure. If people keep coming and going or if retching sounds are heard from the bathroom, the RA on duty will notice, and you will get in trouble.
What happens if I do get caught? How much trouble am I in?
If you are “written up,” it means your RA will document the situation and forward it to the hall director, who will decide what disciplinary measures to take. Assuming your transgression was limited to drinking in your dorm and being disruptive, your punishment will likely not include anything more than sanction hours, a fine and/or taking AlcoholEdu®. Repeated violations, however, can end up on your transcript and jeopardize your ability to study abroad and secure on-campus housing.
But drinking in my double in Village C West is pretty lame. Where can I go to get my party on?
Especially at the beginning of the semester, freshmen tend to walk — or stumble — in packs around West Georgetown and on-campus apartment complexes, listening for the faint yet unmistakable sound of a tapped keg. For freshmen, this is generally acceptable behavior, and if your group is not too big and has a reasonable girl-to-guy ratio, upperclassmen will usually graciously let you crash their party. As the semester progresses, however, the university will likely begin to crack down on parties, so upperclassmen will man the door to ensure no uninvited guests come in. How can you maintain a lively social life, then, when party-crashing is no longer a viable option? Someone on your floor is bound to have an upperclassman friend, teammate or special someone who will welcome you to the next social event. Clubs and student organizations also frequently host parties and mixers.
What is a Georgetown party like? As good as my dreams?
If your dreams include scenes from “Animal House” or “Neighbors,” Georgetown’s lack of a Greek system — the few fraternities and sororities we do have don’t always stack up to their state school contemporaries — may disappoint you. Despite the lack of frat houses, however, off-campus townhouses and on-campus apartments have been known to throw their fair share of ragers that will show you why everyone describes his college years as the best years of his life.
Also, unlike at other schools, as underclassmen guests, you won’t be asked to pay for a cup.
Tradition has been that the juniors and seniors throwing the party pick up the tab for underclassmen, knowing that in a few years, when they’re throwing parties, they’ll pay it forward. It’s just the nice, Jesuit way to do things, of course.
My friend has had way too much to drink. What do I do?
If someone seems dangerously incoherent or ill, call Georgetown Emergency Response Medical Service immediately on (202) 687-4357. Georgetown’s student-run EMTs arrive faster to the scene than D.C. Fire and Rescue does, and the ride to the hospital is free. It’s also important to note that you or your friend will not get in trouble if you contact GERMS, courtesy of a codified medical amnesty clause. Don’t let the fear of getting an underage drinking violation prevent you from seeking medical attention. Always keep an eye on any friends you take to parties with you — it’s just the right thing to do.
Does everyone have a fake ID?
No. Some do and some don’t. The social scene on campus is lively enough that you don’t need to venture out to D.C.’s vibrant bar and club scene until you can actually do so legally.
I’ve got one! Where can I use it?
First, we caution you against using a fake ID by stating the obvious — it’s super illegal. Penalties for using a fake ID are stiff — you could even get arrested. And, unfortunately, saying you’re new to Georgetown and only accidentally walked into the bar (“Wait, this isn’t Leavey Center?”) won’t work. So really do avoid that. Seriously. And sure, it may work at some places, but a place that takes it one night may be strict the next night, no matter how “real” your ID looks or how “old” you look in your picture. The truth is that all fake IDs essentially fall within the range of bad to terrible, and any experienced bouncer will be able to tell it’s not real. Whether or not you’ll get to jam out to top-40 dance music with your friends inside will likely just depend on the benevolence of the stony-faced gentleman in front of you. For places such as Georgetown Piano Bar, the earlier you are, the better.
If your heart is set on drinking, however, it’s best to have an upperclassman buy alcohol for you. Fake IDs also tend to work better for girls than guys. Sorry. Still, we know you’ve got them and want to try them. Here is a list of places where you really should not use a fake: Dixie Liquor, Old Glory, El Centro D.F. and The Tombs. Seriously, don’t, especially at The Tombs. Only a handful of underage students get in with a fake ID each year. And besides, getting your forehead stamped at The Tombs on your 21st birthday is practically a rite of passage at Georgetown. Don’t let your impatience ruin it.
Where am I likely to bump into my classmates?
Chinese Disco, Piano Bar and Ri Ra Irish Pub on M Street are popular Thursday night spots. Glover Park’s Mason Inn, owned by Georgetown alumnus Fritz Brogan (COL ’07, LAW ’10), has been known to attract students on a given weekend, especially if the bar is having an event.
Do I have to drink?
Of course not! Plenty of Georgetown students don’t. Seriously, we’re not just being politically correct. Some choose to opt out of drinking and partying, and that’s cool. Others choose not to drink but party with their friends anyway, and no one notices the difference. Do whatever makes you feel comfortable, and don’t let anyone convince you otherwise.