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Sun God Festival UC San Diego

Photos by Erik Jepsen/UC San Diego Publications

Sun God Then and Now

Health, Safety and Fun Remain a Top Priority for Beloved Tradition

Since its inception in 1983, the annual Sun God Festival has been one of the most anticipated student events at UC San Diego, providing attendees with live music from nationally touring artists, interactive activities, carnival rides and more. This year’s Sun God Festival on Saturday, April 29, will commemorate the 35th anniversary of the festivities. Over the years, Sun God has seen significant growth both in participants and in the venue, expanding from its original debut at the Student Center, to the Sun God Lawn to its current location at RIMAC Field. Last year, a daytime format was adopted with operating hours from noon to 6 p.m., a shift that will continue to be implemented for years to come. All the while, the festival has remained a beloved UC San Diego tradition.

“Sun God is one of UC San Diego’s most celebrated traditions and health and safety remains the top priority for the campus,” said Juan González, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs. “This year, we’ve continued to build on our efforts to provide a variety of resources available for students to encourage safe, responsible behavior while they enjoy the festival.”

Sun God Festival UC San Diego

The lineup will feature musicians such as Grammy Award-nominated hip-hop artist ScHhool Boy Q, the rock group Bad Suns and R&B singer Khalid. Additional attractions will include lounges, student performances, interactive art elements as well as a 300-foot water slide and other activities.

Health and safety efforts from festival organizers include a partnership with CARE at the Sexual Assault Resource Center to include greater sexual assault awareness and prevention messaging in the promotion of the festival.

Along with CARE at the Sexual Assault Resource Center, the organizers will be working with Student Health Advocates (SHA) and Health Promotion Services to provide additional safety information for students, including drug and alcohol education. These efforts are part of a larger bystander intervention program launched by the campus in 2014, designed to inform students about safe ways to engage in the Sun God Festival, as well as other social events throughout the year.

This year, the UC San Diego Police Department has recruited volunteer SHAs to also participate in a pilot program, dubbed Teal Team 6, to provide on-the-field help for students who are seeking resources and safety information regarding sexual assault and other issues that may arise. The goal is to keep Teal Team 6 up and running at all major campus events in order for students to recognize the logo and know that they can go to trusted peers who have the ability to directly help and connect them with the right resources. According to festival organizers, students have more reasons than ever to be excited this year about the event, as it secured additional funding, thanks to the passing of a student-led referendum.

“This year’s festival is really tailor-made to student interests,” said event coordinator Ace Antonio. “Per student surveys, a good portion of this year’s increase in funding went to talent, namely a bigger headliner. We're excited to have hip-hop artist ScHoolboy Q headline the 2017 event. We're also bringing back a second stage, an element that truly brings the event back from last year's, single-stage concert format to an immersive, multi-attraction festival event.”

The return of a second stage, dubbed the “North Stage,” will allow the coordinators to showcase a wider range of genres and talent that includes up and coming acts, as well as student performers. Headlining the North Stage is Khalid, who made his television debut last month on Jimmy Fallon, and whose single “Location” is currently placing on the Billboard charts.

While Sun God offers a wonderful student experience, festival organizers also focus on health and safety to ensure an enjoyable experience for all. The following are 10 tips for students to enjoy Sun God Festival healthfully and safely. Click here to learn more.

  1. You don’t have to drink to have a good time at the Sun God Festival, but if you do choose to: Eat before, during and after the event. Alternate between alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. Don’t take (or give) unwanted peer pressure. Keep track of the number of drinks you have. Determine in advance the number of drinks you will consume and do not exceed that amount.
  2. Be a responsive bystander: Keeping UC San Diego safe is a community responsibility. You can help prevent sexual assault by being aware of common behaviors that often precede an assault. Take action as a responsive bystander and remember to use IDEAS, the UC San Diego Bystander Intervention Techniques Model – Interrupt, Distract, Engage Peers, Alert Authorities, and Safety First.
  3. Definition of consent: Consent is a mutual, affirmative, voluntary and revocable agreement by each participant to engage in sexual activity. An informed verbal “yes” must accompany positive and engaging body language. The initiator of sexual activity is responsible for receiving affirmative consent from their partner.
  4. Do NOT mix drugs and alcohol. There is no way to anticipate how your body will react to the mixture, and the reaction could be very serious.
  5. Never drink and drive: Having a plan for getting to and from campus safely is part of the safe Sun God experience. The Associated Students has teamed up with Uber to provide A.S. Safe Rides, a free service to currently enrolled undergraduate students who have completed the online Safe Rides registration. If you have planned ahead to have a designated driver, always be sure that that driver has not been drinking as well.
  6. Safety is the No. 1 priority on the field: Festival safety staff will wear clearly identifiable uniforms. First Aid stations will be available throughout the venue. There will be free water at two fill-up locations for any attendee with a reusable, non-glass bottle.
  7. Watch over your friends and peers: If you see someone in medically dangerous conditions, do not be afraid to reach out to a security guard, police officer, event staff or event volunteer to ask for help. Your health and safety is our first priority!
  8. Learn about Responsible Action Protocol (RAP): This protocol protects students who receive (or initiate) medical assistance in an alcohol or controlled substance-related medical emergency. It applies if no other major Student Conduct Code violations were committed by the student during the same incident, and the student has not received protection under this protocol more than once in a two-calendar-year period. Visit bit.ly/ucsdrap for more information.
  9. Important contacts: For help: Call (858) 534-HELP or ask for help from the nearest security guard or staff member. The Responsible Action Protocol (RAP) may keep you from getting in trouble. In addition, CARE at the Sexual Assault Resource Center is a confidential and free resource for all students, staff and faculty affected by sexual assault, relationship violence and stalking. If you or a friend needs to speak with a confidential CARE advocate, call (858)-534-5793.
  10. Non-UC San Diego-affiliated guests will not be allowed into the Sun God Festival, nor be allowed to stay in residential areas during the weekend of the Festival (April 28 – April 30). Additionally, only residents are allowed in their respective residential areas during specified time periods during the weekend of the Sun God Festival. Please refer to your RA or Residential Life Office for more information on these policy changes and time period.