Efforts underway to make alcohol-free campus
Efforts underway to make alcohol-free campus
  • Son Min-ji
  • 승인 2009.04.01 11:59
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Minister of Health, Welfare and Family affairs Jeon Jae-hee meets with 15 university students to promote moderate drinking on campuses on February 24

  In the first two months after the new semester starts, students attend many events where they tend to drink more than they normally do, such as freshmen orientation, back-to-school parties and membership training (MT). A survey done by Boosting Alcohol Consciousness Concerning the Health of University Students in Korea in 2008 showed that 29 percent of 3,108 freshmen drank more alcohol during MT than any other time of the year.
“After I drank a great amount of alcohol at Sabalsik (a binge drinking event at some Korean universities) at freshmen orientation, I felt dizzy and sick for a long time. Some people forced me to drink even more,” said Park Sung-ho (Korea University, 3).
  Immoderate drinking among freshmen can have serious consequences. Because they lack drinking experience, their alcohol capacity is often low. According to a news report this March, one student who participated in freshmen orientation died after he fell from a building while drunk.
There have been efforts to avoid such accidents. On Feb. 24, 2009, Minister of Health, Welfare and Family Affairs Jeon Jae-hee invited members of school clubs that lead temperance movements to a meeting to encourage them and promise support, including financial.
  One of these clubs, Happy Ewha Without Alcohol (HEWA), was established in 2007 when the ministry began attempts to persuade students to initiate school temperance movements.
“When we tried to recruit members from other departments, people had a misconception about temperance. Most thought they do not need to join a club as long as they make their own efforts to drink moderately,” said Cha Mi-ran (Health Education and Management, 3), the president of HEWA.
  HEWA regularly holds “Temperance Week” in which HEWA members tell people about the need for temperance through posters and User Created Contents (UCC). They also hold programs in which students fill out temperance pledges or take surveys to look back at their drinking habits.
Besides the efforts of temperance clubs, the first significant attempts by universities to discourage drinking during events for freshmen is also underway.
  “Without Alcohol” became the slogan for freshmen orientation at Daegu Haany University (DHU). During the event, students drank soda rather than beer or soju (a type of Korean alcohol).
“For years, problems like some students getting sick because of drinking were reported after orientation. So the Student Association planned a freshmen orientation without alcohol to avoid them,” said Jeon Da-seul (Daegu Haany University, 3), vice-president of the DHU Student Association.
  In DHU’s orientation, students played games designed by the Student Association. “Even without alcohol, students had a great time with their friends and sunbaes (seniors),” said Jeon.
  DHU plans to promote temperance movement throughout the year. “We will constantly suggest to department representatives not to drink at their events as well,” said Jeon.
  DHU isn’t alone. The Yonsei University Wonju Campus also ran an alcohol-free program for this year’s freshmen orientation. Freshmen played games and learned school cheers at night. There was no time for alcohol.
  Meanwhile, Inje University has a unique way of eradicating drinking among students. From March 16 to March 27, all freshmen participated in a special course about drinking in moderation. Students completed a school-provided online survey about their drinking habits and watched an online educational video clip.
   “After three to six months, students need to leave reflective comment on their effort on temperance to complete the course. Students who finish this course will be credited with four hours of volunteering,” said Hong Jung-hee, who works at Inje University’s Office of International Affairs.
  Inje University will take the survey results and student reflections into consideration when setting school regulations for drinking on campus.
  “Since there have been serious accidents like students dying from reckless drinking, temperance movements should operate constantly to influence students, rather than being a one time effort,” said Hong.

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