Fresher students told to drink sensibly

An alcohol awareness charity is spearheading a drive this week aimed at encouraging NUI Galway students to drink sensibly. drinkaware.ie’s Freshers’ Week initiative is focusing its campaign on the toilets of the college bar. It says it is here, away from the drinking atmosphere, that the effects of alcohol are often felt.

The initiative, which was rolled out on Wednesday, features life size images of men/women on toilet cubicle floors who passed out as a result of drinking too much. Bathroom mirrors will remind students that while they might look “drop dead gorgeous” now this will not be the case if “they drop down drunk”.

Fionnuala Sheehan, the chief executive of the charity, says the initiative was run as a pilot campaign at a small number of colleges last year.

“We received very positive feedback from students on the effectiveness of the campaign with many students saying it made them ‘stop and think about their drinking’.

“This year we have broadened the initiative to include reminders on bathroom mirrors of how you look before and after drinking and we will be rolling out the campaign in seven colleges nationwide.

“On a night out, students will invariably pay a visit to the bathroom. It is here, away from the party atmosphere, that you often start to notice the effects of alcohol. The floor and mirror vinyls are a stark reminder to students enjoying Freshers’ Week that this is what they could look like or how they will end up if they drink beyond their limit on a night out.”

Supporting the drinkaware.ie campaign the president of the Union of Students in Ireland, Gary Redmond says for many students, entering college marks their first time living away from home.

“This is an exciting time, introducing a newfound freedom away from the watchful eyes of parents and teachers. It can be very refreshing but it also brings the harsh realisation that adulthood has well and truly arrived and responsible decisions need to be made.

“In college, the freedom to go out and drink to excess can be extremely tempting for students. But the reality of college life is that if you don’t turn up for lectures the next day the lecturers will probably not miss your attendance. They won’t waste their time telling you what you can and cannot do. If you decide to drink, during Freshers’ Week, or any other time in your college career, do so in a responsible manner. This doesn’t mean that you can’t go out and have fun.” drinkaware.ie has distributed copies of its dedicated student No Nonsense Guide to Colleges around Ireland. In addition to hints and tips on surviving the college social scene it also challenges the myths about mixing your drinks, lining your stomach, sweating off a hangover and how to sober up quickly.

The eight year-old charity says being drink aware is not at odds with having a vibrant student social life.

“drinkaware.ie is challenging students to examine their drinking during Freshers’ Week. Students can keep track of the amount of alcohol they are drinking by using the handy online drinks calculator and the online drinks diary to see how much they have spent on alcohol at the end of the week.”

The online drinks calculator and diary, No Nonsense Guide, and various hints and tips can be accessed at www.drinkaware.ie or by telephoning (01 ) 6114811.

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