University of Otago to end binge drinking

Posted By TEU on May 13, 2010 |

The Otago Daily Times reports that the University of Otago Students’ Association (OUSA) plans to tackle its student binge-drinking culture head-on by cutting the number of liquor outlets around campuses, developing a “sober-up safely facility” on campus, and encouraging post-party flat inspections by landlords.

The changes are based in part on a 40-point action plan developed by Otago University Students’ Association events manager Vanessa Reddy.

“I’ve seen a lot of harm coming to students… including hospitalisation and violence,” she said

Ms Reddy received funding from the university, OUSA, and Dunedin City Council to spend last year in the USA researching how American universities had changed their binge-drinking cultures.

The action points in the plan include introducing broad-ranging alcohol-related policy changes and education, to practical ideas such as scheduling more lectures and tests on Friday mornings in order to reduce excessive Thursday night drinking.

OUSA president Harriet Geoghegan said that the taskforce was a positive move and that the association wanted to be part of the move to help minimise the harm caused by alcohol.

One of the action points was establishing a “sober-up safely facility” where intoxicated students would be monitored until their blood-alcohol level was at a certain point. They would be charged $200, and if the bill was not paid within a week, and hardship was not an issue, the account would be sent to their parents.

“It’s never going to be one thing that does the trick, but lots of initiatives involving all aspects of life, over a period of time,” said Ms Geoghegan.

Thanks to Bryce Edwards at Flickr for the photo

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