Polar Bear 2012

Eleven years later, the Polar Bear celebration is still going strong. Originally starting with Pinch Penny Pub, several bars in Carbondale open their doors at 10 a.m. and offer a variety of drink specials, with Corona being the most publicized. It has become a tradition to hop from each establishment and complete a day tour of local bars, including Stix, Saluki Bar and Callahan’s.

The annual winter party in recent years has drawn thousands of college-age students, often resulting in increased police presence. This year was no exception. Several days before  party-goers took to the bars, Chancellor Rita Cheng sent mass emails to students and parents alike in an effort to diffuse potentially dangerous situations. 

“If you plan to attend any of these events, please take the necessary precautions to reduce your potential risk.  Limit your alcohol consumption and alternate alcoholic beverages with water or soda,” Cheng said. “Do not drink on an empty stomach, and please do not drive buzzed or drunk. The best way to have a good time and be safe is to monitor your own behaviors and to watch out for each other. Salukis take care of each other.” 

 Over 100 drinking citations were issued last year and nearly a dozen people had to be taken to the hospital for alcohol related reasons.

However, the university took the safety of students and partiers a step further this year in order to prevent citations and hospital trips. Several safety stations were set in high traffic areas, which offered free fruit, hot dogs, water, condoms and heating tents for those who were drinking.

©  Eric Ginnard Photography 2012

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