This St. Patrick’s Day weekend, green beer may very well replace green tea as the breakfast drink of choice. However, the University also has a lineup of non-alcoholic activities for students.
Wolverine Wellness, Beyond the Diag, the Center for Campus Involvement and the Dean of Students Laura Blake Jones worked together to give students alternative activities for St. Patrick’s Day that don’t involve alcohol. Joy Pehlke, University Health Service health educator and Sarah Daniels, assistant dean of students, were part of the effort that created events such as the Sober Skate and Shamrock It.
Pehlke said that programs are similar to UMix — including food, movies and games to draw crowds. She said she encourages students to keep up-to-date with activities on the Dean of Students’ website.
For example, green donuts and water will be handed out at opposite ends of the Diag on Monday for students on their way to class or on their way to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at local establishments.
“History here on campus will tell you that some students will go out first thing in the morning as soon as the bars open because there are some places around here that do morning specials,” Daniels said.
Pelkhe said students who go out — especially over the weekend — tend to drink in excess. She listed strategies such as keeping track of drinks, pacing oneself and eating throughout the day to avoid sickness or injuries.
“One of the unique problems of St. Patrick’s Day weekend is that people drink during day and at night, so often that’s different than what people normally do,” Pehlke said.
Although in years past the holiday has also brought warmer weather, the forecast for this weekend is chilly. Both Daniels and Pehlke said that this adds to the risk, as being intoxicated may make it more difficult to take into account the severity of the cold.
LSA sophomore Leo Weissburg, the Interfraternity Council’s vice president for public relations, said that the IFC has various strategies in place to ensure that students attending events at fraternities have fun and stay safe.
For example, “stay in blue cups” — which are made with standard drink lines — will be provided to fraternity houses that are hosting events. To continue with past years’ practices, fraternities will purchase food to encourage students not to drink on an empty stomach, and the IFC will reimburse these purchases.
Members of the Michigan Ambassadors Program who are trained by University Health Services and the Ann Arbor Police Department will also be patrolling social events to ensure that “everything is within control,” Weissburg said.
Weissburg said LSA sophomore Alex Krupiak, IFC’s vice president of social responsibility, created guidelines specifically for the holiday to ensure safety. For example, the policy discourages the use of glass containers and encourages fraternity members to pick up trash throughout the day, as well as be aware of sound system set-ups to avoid noise complaints.
In addition, Weissburg said the guidelines encouraged fraternities to hold events on Saturday in lieu of Sunday, when Honors Convocation will occur.
“We want students to know that there’s alternative events, that there’s other things to do besides engaging in high-risk drinking, or drinking at all,” Daniels said.