For the first time in the University of Dallas’s history, the campus will partake in a student-led initiative designed to actively educate students and promote awareness of a familiar and beloved substance, alcohol.
Students are invited to attend these events, eat free food and hear discussions about the effects of alcoholism designed to promote conversations about alcohol use among the student body.
In the past, UD’s Office of Student Affairs has promoted education on alcohol and other substances through passive methods such as required online courses for students like Campus Clarity and AlcoholEdu.
“I think that any online activity is always a little bit deficient,” said junior Jillian Jassek. “It’s [the events that] get the university talking.”
UD students know that the culture is intimately connected to alcohol and that one needs go no further than TGIT or weekly parties in Tower Village to enter an atmosphere where alcohol consumption is prevalent and commonplace.
“The first semester was kind of a shock for me,” freshmen Gwendolyn Loop explained. “I think it was a shock for a lot of freshmen, just realizing how pervasive the alcohol culture was.”
While it is true that a drinking culture exists at UD, it is also true that many see varying effects of this attitude towards alcohol.
“It’s a good drinking culture here,” senior Grace Schubert said.
“It really brings people together,” Jassek said.
“As a freshman, you do get a sense at UD that could be classified as an alcohol culture,” Vince Roberts said. “Alcohol’s not bad, necessarily, just when its used in the wrong manner that it becomes bad.”
However, many, such as freshman Brendan Flood, see very few positive aspects of the drinking culture.
“The worst thing about UD alcohol culture is the number of stories that I hear about people who get hammered and do stupid stuff,” Flood said.
Staff advisor Kate Collier said the organizers wanted the event to be educational, realizing that conversations about alcohol are not always easy.
“They really wanted to focus [on] it all being educational,” Collier said. “They wanted to bring a light to it, because they felt that it is not very comfortable to talk about that kind of thing.”
“We definitely have a lot of stuff we can improve on, which is why it’s good that we’re having awareness weeks like this,” Loop said.
This new, active approach to alcohol awareness at UD is certain to have an effect on discussions regarding the substance.
“I want to see the student body become, overall, a little bit more educated on the effect alcohol can have on your personal life, on your grades, everything,” organizer Thomas Cuda said.