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May 17, 2010 | by  | in News | [ssba]

OUSA staff member gets buzzy on US excursion

A new ‘40-point drinking plan’ has been floated to deal with Scarfie alcohol abuse. The plan is the product of a $40,000 year-long trip to the US by OUSA Events Manager Vanessa Reddy.

Reddy toured dozens of major US universities, investigating how different campuses have tackled the problem of student drinking.

Ideas from Reddy’s plan include increased scheduling of classes and tests on Friday mornings, upping the price of alcohol around campus, and greater promotion of clubs and activities.

The most radical idea is the creation of a ‘sober-up’ facility, where intoxicated students are held and monitored until their Blood Alcohol Level (BAC) reaches a certain ‘safe’ level.

Under her proposal, students would then be released and issued with a $200 bill, payable within one week (unless the student can prove financial hardship). If the bill is not settled within that time, it would be forwarded to the student’s parent.

Reddy has made it clear that such plans would be a long-term solution to the Scarfie drinking problem, and the effects gradual. The plan is aimed at changing the entire culture of alcohol use in Dunedin, and addresses issues such as accommodation and attitudes towards academics.

After viewing the plan, Critic can say it would have been happy to produce a similar report for $100 and some free pizza.

There are also some initiatives which are unlikely to appeal to anyone over the age of ten, including a plan to help students manage their ‘buzz’ by sending them texts reminding them to drink water and eat food while out on a Saturday night.

OUSA President Harriet Geoghegan was non-committal regarding the plan. “We’re supportive of measures to minimise harm but we’re yet to make a call on how far to go with it.

“Having one person stepping back and taking an holistic view about Otago’s drinking culture is a good thing,” Geoghegan says. “Even if some of the ideas seem simple or obvious and some of them may have been initiated already.”


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