On Friday March 17, St. Patrick’s Day, the Sexualized Violence Services & Mental Health/Harm Reduction team organized and hosted a Mocktails & Karaoke night at Gracie’s.
The event ran from 8 p.m. to 12 a.m. and was free to attend. On offer were snacks like chips and granola bars, but most importantly, three options for free, non-alcoholic drinks. The menu included Nohito Verde (green tea, limeade, fresh mint, club soda, and lime), Pineapple Ging-Fizz (pineapple puree, ginger beer, club soda, coconut sugar, and lemon zest), and Red Rock-it (cherry kool-aid slush, lemon juice, club soda, pop-rocks, and sour cherry candy). The Nohito Verde was my personal favourite, but the coconut sugar rim on the Pineapple Ging-Fizz was delicious and the Red Rock-it was the sweetest by far.
Karaoke was running throughout the event. Available songs included everything from Disney classics to new pop hits. Every performance was met with cheers or, for some of the more humorous numbers, laughter. Trinity Coates, a third-year student who attended the event said:“It was lovely as a whole. I appreciated that it felt open and wasn’t awkward even though I arrived late. It was really chill and not as intimidating as some other karaoke events I’ve been to. On top of that, free drinks are always a plus.”
Additionally, it was a night completely separate from the drinking characteristic of St. Patrick’s Day. Coates noted that she “first heard about it on one of the uni’s Instagrams,” and that “it’s great that there are alcohol-free events like this. It’s a more comfortable atmosphere for those of us who either don’t drink, or just want a more relaxed event to go to.”
It seems that many other students felt the same way because there was always someone at the mic, even until the very last minute of the party.
Having events like this is important because often there is a pressure to drink at parties because it is the social norm, and to participate in an activity that may not appeal to some people. I myself remember my years back in high school when I faced constant pressure to go back on my decision not to drink. Events like this one symbolize an effort to alleviate pressure like that, an effort that is surely welcomed.
Keep an eye out for future similar events.