The Union of Students in Ireland (USI) and Drinkaware.ie have launched an Alcohol Awareness Toolkit for Students’ Union officers as RAG Week approaches for many colleges around the country.
The guide offers advice and resources for communicating a responsible drinking message to students prior to RAG Week. It aims to make the running of campaigns as straightforward as possible and includes links to downloadable resources to help organisers spread the word.
One of the most helpful pieces of the toolkit is the list of “Do”s and “Don’t”s for event organisers. Students’ Unions are advised to make campaigns fun and engaging for students, not to preach to students and not to promote risky behaviour or binge-drinking through irresponsible drinks promotions or events at any point during the year. Students are also urged to make sure that their SU promotes responsible drinking throughout the year, and not just for one event.
Fionnuala Sheehan, Chief Executive of Drinkaware.ie is confident that the toolkit will be of help to Students’ Unions throughout the country. She said: “With this toolkit, we aim to make the process easier by guiding people through the steps required to create a really effective activity for their peers. We hope that this will become a valuable resource for any college looking to promote responsible drinking among students.”
USI Vice President for Welfare, Denise McCarthy, spoke of the risks of excessive drinking among students and why this toolkit and other initiatives like it can combat these problems: “While awareness now exists of the problems that can arise from excessive alcohol consumption, binge drinking is still a prevalent habit among young people.” She went on to say that the toolkit will help to combat a trend that can lead to depression, poverty and suicide.