Understanding the lifestyle
“Party culture,” which is often related to binge drinking behaviours, is commonplace in universities across Canada. On Jan. 9, Mount Allison’s Student Union hosted #ReThinkTheDrink, an event focused on discussing party culture on campus that aimed to reduce the harms of alcohol. The event, hosted by Mt. A’s health intern Emilie Comfort, featured a panel of five individuals, including students, mental health advocates and local paramedics, all of whom were asked their opinions on a series of questions.
The event began with the question, “Why do you think alcohol and binge drinking is such a big part of university culture?”
“Students tend to binge drink over drinking casually because of time restrictions,” said one student panelist. “Because of our busy schedules, we are more likely to drink excessive amounts in one night compared to moderate amounts throughout the week.”
“The culture of binge drinking is common because of the social change in environment,” said another panelist. “Students might be experiencing living on their own for the first time as well as finally being legal drinking age. The accumulation of temptation results in the excessive drinking culture.”
A second question presented to the panelists was, “Where does most drinking happen on campus?” A student residence assistant claimed that she witnessed peers encouraging drinking within residence. “What else is there to do in Sackville?” she said jokingly. As the saying goes, you are a product of your environment, and most drinking incidents occur in private homes and residences, the paramedic panelist agreed. One audience member pitched in by stating she felt a lot of pressure while in residence to drink in order to be social. Although it was her decision not to drink, the pressure was not subtle.
#ReThinkTheDrink helped open up discussion about the concerns and different aspects of the drinking culture seen in universities. Panelists generally agreed that it is more productive to foster a healthy party environment for students rather than create a restrictive and dangerous alternative.
As the events slogan stated, “Don’t be afraid to crush a water.” For tips or information on responsible drinking or alcohol harm reduction, contact Mount Allison’s Wellness Centre at 506-364-2163 or [email protected].