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College 101: Party Planner

I’m part of a pretty tight-knit organization at my school, and I’ve been elected to be the social chair this year. Most of the members of this organization live together off campus in an apartment complex, and we usually have parties every year. We make sure that the only people drinking there are over 21 and make it a point to take good care of the property. I’m looking for advice on two issues: 1) what is the most cost-effective way to buy inexpensive but quality alcohol and 2) we have a no-smoking policy in the apartments but people have started vaping. Is vaping okay in an apartment?

Being social chair sounds like a lot of responsibility, but you are asking the right questions. Buying large quantities of alcohol can certainly get expensive, and many organizations or people will drive down costs by getting “lower-quality” alcohol that doesn’t taste as good. But this isn’t the only option. Discount wine and liquor outlets like Joe Canal’s in Woodbridge, New Jersey are a great alternative to buying packs of the cheapest beer you can find. Because of the buying model of discount wine and liquor outlets, they are able to offer a range of wines, beers, and hard liquors at lower prices than you’ll find at the grocery store or gas station. They also make large orders more convenient by offering things like an online ordering system. You can order exactly the amount you need and get input ahead of time for what people want, all while knowing the cost and being able to schedule a time to pick up drinks before your social events. The ability to plan ahead like this should make part of your job as social chair much easier.

You also asked about vaping. Whether vaping is considered “smoking” will vary according to where you live. Studies have shown that vaping is likely safer than smoking traditional cigarettes, so overall this is good news for members of your organization who have switched from cigarettes to vaping. A lot of vaporizers are different, so you’ll likely want to do some research for information on vaporizers. This research will help you when you look into your local jurisdiction’s laws on whether indoor smoking is allowed and if not, whether the ban extends to vaporizers. If the law is silent on vaporizers, you may want to consider other factors, like odor and the exposure of others to vaporizers. As a fairly new technology, there are few conclusive studies about “secondhand vaping” but the World Health Organization generally recommends treating indoor areas as “no smoking” or “no vaping” areas to avoid potential health risks to users and non-users. Your best bet is to tell your friends to vape away, but to do so outside.

“Nobody’s ever asked me to a party before, as a friend. Is that why you dyed your eyebrow, for the party? Should I do mine too?” -- J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

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