Guide offers advice and resources for spreading a responsible-drinking message among students in advance of RAG Week
Monday, 28 January: With RAG Weeks taking place across the country in coming weeks, drinkaware.ie and the Union of Students in Ireland (USI) have collaborated on a new Alcohol Awareness Toolkit for Students’ Union officers.
Designed to make running effective campaigns as straightforward as possible, the toolkit features a guide to planning and publicising events, as well as links to downloadable resources to help organisers spread their message.
“Organising an alcohol awareness event can be a daunting task,” said Fionnuala Sheehan, Chief Executive of drinkaware.ie. “It’s such an important message, and although there’s a wealth of information available on the subject, it can be difficult to know where to begin. With this toolkit, we aim to make the process easier by guiding people through the steps required to create a really effective activity for their peers. We hope that this will become a valuable resource for any college looking to promote responsible drinking among students.”
Denise McCarthy, USI Vice President for Welfare said: “Alcohol awareness campaigns are essential to promotion of good mental health. While awareness now exists of the problems that can arise from excessive alcohol consumption, binge drinking is still a prevalent habit among young people. We offer assistance to Students’ Unions to help them inform and educate their students about alcohol in a simple and engaging manner. These campaigns and this toolkit will help us combat a trend that can lead to depression, poverty and suicide.”
The Alcohol Awareness Toolkit and associated resources can be downloaded by visiting drinkaware.ie.
Some “Do”s and “Don’t”s of Alcohol Awareness Events
Adapted from the drinkaware.ie and USI Alcohol Awareness Toolkit
- Do be strategic about when and where you run them – before RAG week is ideal.
- Do use positive language for campaigns and reinforce the benefits of responsible drinking.
- Do make them fun and engaging for students.
- Do contact drinkaware.ie or the USI for advice if you’re unsure about any element of your campaign.
- Do make sure that your SU promotes responsible drinking throughout the year, and not just for one event.
- Don’t preach to students – make your message positive and interesting.
- Don’t just hand out leaflets to tick an “alcohol awareness” box. It’s a really important message to send to students, so do your best to make your activity as engaging as possible.
- Don’t promote risky behaviour or binge-drinking through irresponsible drinks promotions, events, etc. at any point during the year. At the planning stage contact the MEAS Advisory Service to help ensure that alcohol-related events and promotions are run in accordance with responsible practices.