herald

Monday 23 October 2017

Alcohol-free housing offer for students

AN Irish university is to open booze free student accommodation next month.

University College Cork (UCC) has announced that the self policing initiative is in response to concerns about alcohol consumption amongst it student population.

However, there will be no-one checking blood alcohol levels at the residences with a breathalyser. The college has said it wants to implement an accommodation policy that reflects the increasingly diverse student population.

A minimum of three apartments, catering for between three and five students each, in the college's off-campus, Victoria Lodge complex, are being set aside for the pilot project.

However, students who are offered places will have to sign a contract agreeing to adhere to alcohol regulations and anyone violating the rules may be subject to a disciplinary process.

Deirdre Griffin, UCC health promotions project worker, this morning told RTE Radio One that the college was pursuing an action plan to tackle alcohol related harm.

STRATEGIC

"We have an action plan which covers five different strategic areas. One of these is creating a safe campus and local environment and under this area we are offering alcohol free houses for students," Ms Griffin said.

"If a student is interested in living in this type of housing, they can apply for it as they usually would apply for accommodation," she said.

Ms Griffin said there is a lot of monitoring of UCC students within the college's accommodation blocks, adding: "It is not a problem we have identified; this is part of a wider strategy to tackle the issue of alcohol across the university."

UCC said students had different preferences when it came to housing such as same-sex, Irish language-only or mature student-only, and the new alcohol-free option would cater for those wanting a lifestyle that did not involve alcohol.

A motivating factor for the move was a UCC 2010 study on alcohol consumption showing that 46pc of male and 45pc of female students reported binge drinking more than once a week, and that all who reported drinking alcohol reported at least one adverse consequence.

hnews@herald.ie

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