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Oxford prepares for Green Beer Day post-COVID restrictions

Miami University students’ annual Green Beer Day tradition, which consists of day-long drinking, falls on St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow. With a good weather forecast and easing COVID-19 restrictions, this year’s celebration has the potential to be huge.

Oxford Police Department’s (OPD) Police Chief, John Jones, said the department is prepared to keep residents and businesses safe this year.

OPD has enlisted the help of surrounding agencies, like the Miami University Police Department, to help patrol on Thursday. The business of the 24-hour celebration calls for adjustments in staffing – officers will serve on overtime shifts.

“If you look at it from now to 10 years ago, the impact [of Green Beer Day] has lessened,” Jones said. “We don't want to get complacent, but we've been fortunate not to have major incidents or tragedies that occurred in the last several years, and it just doesn't seem very overwhelming to us anymore.”

Unlike with last year’s checkpoints for impaired drivers, officers will uphold the peace this year by occasionally checking in on the bars.

Jones said people should pay attention to the weather and dress accordingly. He also suggested that noise complaints can be minimized if hosts keep their parties inside the house. 

While OPD issues citations for underage drinking, fake IDs, driving under the influence and other alcohol-related crimes, Jones said quality of life citations increase on Green Beer Day.

“Litter and noise are typically the big things that draw us to parties,” Jones said. “Those are quality of life violations that make a party stand out to us and give us a reason for approaching parties … especially in the afternoon when it's more focused on house parties than it is the Uptown bar scene.”

In an email to The Miami Student, Jessica Rivinius, director of news and communications for Miami, said students who violate community standards will face consequences from the university as well as law enforcement.

“Students found accountable for violating the code of conduct, endangering health and safety, and/or violating laws will be held accountable,” Rivinius wrote. “This could mean suspension, disciplinary probation, attendance in a substance abuse program and/or participation in a restorative community experience.”

Rivinius also clarified that Miami does not support the event.

“‘Green Beer Day’ is not a Miami University event,” Rivinius wrote. “The university does not sanction or condone it. As always, the health of our students and of the Miami community is of utmost concern.”

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For students who don’t participate in Green Beer Day, Miami has several events throughout the day ranging from pin-making to bingo.

Hannah, a senior supply chain management major who wished to remain anonymous, said she expects Green Beer Day to be the biggest event of the year.

“Even kids that don't really party that hard or wouldn't really go out on Halloween for parties, they want to make an effort to be out on Green Beer Day,” Hannah said. “I don't know if it's because it's an all day event, but I always see more people out on this holiday.”

For students new to Green Beer Day, Hannah suggested they stay safe by keeping charged phones and a homebase with their friends. She said groups can carry themselves more responsibly if they know when and where they want to go.

She also said everyone should pace themselves.

“It's a marathon, not a sprint,” Hannah said. “Everyone just wants to party, party, party, but … it’s just not safe to obviously get wasted right away and really quickly. It's important to pace yourself. That's when things start getting unsafe, people start getting sick.”

The Green Beer Day tradition isn’t limited to students, though.

Jack Farag, a senior and founder of Oxford Emblems, said his business has sold Green Beer Day merchandise to everyone from students to alumni to parents.

Farag said he sees the tradition as something that connects generations of Miamians.

“Green Beer Day has been around for 70 years now,” Farag said. “Surely T-shirts of this specificity haven't been, but the tradition has and it's something that … kind of ties old generations of Miami together with their new generations.”

Additional reporting by Evan Stefanik.