The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

USG working to have protective Nightcap cover for drinks

USG has already bought 450 Nightcap scrunchies and plans to buy more if student interest is high.
Theodore Retsinas
Photo illustration by Theodore Retsinas

University of Iowa third-year student Madison Ross is leading an initiative for Undergraduate Student Government to give students access to the reusable drink cover Nightcaps.  

This is Ross’s third year working on the initiative, which she started when she was a first-year student. The idea started when Ross saw an Instagram ad for Nightcap scrunchies, and she admits she wasn’t sure if it was something the campus needed. The scrunchie includes a fabric cover to securely put over a cup. 

After doing more research on drink spiking as a national issue as well as directly in the Iowa City community, Ross decided to push forward with trying to get Nightcap into Iowa City bars.

“When I was looking for an initiative my freshman year, a friend of mine was actually drugged at one of the bars here,” Ross said. “I started asking around Iowa City and it seems like everybody had a story.”

USG President Mitch Winterlin said Ross and her expertise is best on this topic within USG.

Drink spiking has been an issue on college campuses for years, as seen in the most recent data from a 2016 study published in Psychology of Violence. According to the article, 462 respondents in a study of 6,000 people reported said they had been drugged. Ross decided to reach out to Nightcap in the fall of 2022 and ask if they had any experience working with college campuses before.

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Nightcap said it had and it has already worked with over 140 universities — including Florida State University, where it first implemented the distribution mechanism — and it had gotten many people involved. 

Ross has also worked with USG’s director of health and safety Ahmed Baig.

USG has a few improvements it would like to see on campus as a result of using Nightcap — the first being student safety. Baig said the goal of health and safety in USG is making sure that students at least have mechanisms to preserve their well-being. 

Implementing the Nightcap is a start in protecting students from the unknown in bar culture at the UI.

In a more social sense, USG is hoping that this also starts a conversation around student safety at the bars. 

“We like to think of bar culture and the university as two separate entities, but they’re very, very closely connected,” Ross said.

Drink spiking and being drugged in and of itself is a pretty taboo subject because it can be humiliating to the person affected, Ross said. 

USG purchased 450 nightcaps in October to start with but is hoping that students will find the product effective and helpful. If all goes well and USG determines student demand is high, other phases of the project will involve USG buying more scrunchies.

She is hoping that students feel empowered to either tell their story or decrease drink spiking when USG starts its education campaign and hands out Nightcap scrunchies.

This is phase one of what USG is hoping to be a four-phase plan. 

“I’m hoping that students really, really see this as a chance to utilize USG’s involvement with health and safety and student well-being, and show some pretty big interest in it,” Ross said. 

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About the Contributors
Julia Rhodes, Reporter
Julia Rhodes is a first year student at the University of Iowa majoring in Journalism and Mass Communications and minoring in Dance. She loves writing as well as presenting that work on screen and is hoping to be equally a Daily Iowan reporter as well as a DITV reporter. She enjoys writing about all topics from crime and politics to arts and public health.
Theodore Retsinas, Photojournalist
Theodore Retsinas is a freshman at the University of Iowa studying Neuroscience.