In September 2013, the Limerick Post reported that the University of Limerick was considering introducing alcohol-free student housing on campus. It has become a popular lifestyle choice in recent years. UL has plans to model its programme on UCC's (University College Cork) alcohol and tobacco-free student accommodation pilot programme.
Students are asked to sign a pledge and explain why they wish to live in alcohol-free apartments. This programme will be available to study abroad students and Erasmus students also, thus making it easier for students of different faiths and backgrounds to get the most from their UL experience.
In March 2014, Andrew Carey from the Limerick Post writes, “A ‘whole of society’ approach is needed to tackle the misuse of alcohol.” The article stems from a recent 'Mac na Feirme' conference that was held in Limerick. The article asked the question, to what is the extent and effects of alcohol abuse on young people.
A trend has emerged detailing the widespread problem of alcohol misuse in Ireland. With numerous articles and Drink Aware ads warning about the dangerous of this rampant abuse, my question is, is anybody really listening?
UL has made a step in the right direction by offering students the choice to live in student accommodation where they feel safe and do not have to have their college experience blighted by students who wish to drink excessively and act foolishly as a result.
College life has become synonymous with drinking in recent years. The traditional Rag Week became an excuse for students to become paralytic drunk they poison themselves to the point where they black out. Students have even been reported to have uprooted trees and damaged public property. Rag Week received so much bad press it was rechristened, Charity Week.
Charity Week is a fantastic idea. It raises lots of money for great causes and for lots of students provides a fun, engaging experience. Unfortunately, some students attitude towards alcohol seems to be the more the better; if you can remember the night before then you just didn't drink enough. If you got sick-then you just can't handle yourself you better build up your tolerance.
What kind of society do we live in where we aggressively promote something so destructive? Anti-social behaviour is at an all-time high and Limerick has a suicide rate three per cent higher than the national average. Instead of promoting alcohol abuse by encouraging each other to drink more at the first opportunity of a social occasion, let’s embrace a positive attitude to alcohol use.
Let us be the example we'd like to set for our future children, let's show people that there is another way to live, and it's one that doesn't use alcohol as a crutch.