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July 16, 2007 | by  | in Opinion |
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President Geoff

I hope you all had a good re-orientation week. I certainly tried to get out and enjoy the time with you – one night I was stuck in the rain for three hours while checking tickets, and I understood then how important and yet how unsung those are who make sure that the events you go to run so smoothly.

So thanks first of all to the security guards, the party hire people, the sound engineers, the caretakers, bar staff, promoters, volunteers, harassment officers, ticket sellers, posterers, leafletters, designers, stagehands, stage and street performers, workshop facilitators, courier drivers, cleaners, “chauffeurs”; anyone whose contribution helped, no matter how small. Special thanks to our sponsors and partners, including Cosmic Corner, BNZ and The Establishment, and thanks to VUWSA staff and executive members who put in a tremendous effort. And of course, my thanks to you guys and gals out there, the students. VUWSA is proud to serve you all, providing events like re-orientation and are committed to serve you throughout the rest of the trimester. So come down and see us if you are having trouble while studying, we will look after you.

Finally, I wanted to introduce a new initiative being launched: Four local bars (The Establishment, The Big Kumara, Syn and Shooters Bar) have begun a campaign with the Wellington City Council (WCC) to focus on keeping students safe in “student bars” while drinking in the city. Why? Police profiling has shown that female pakeha students in the age range of 18 to 21 are the highest proportion of victims in the Wellington Central area. These victims are usually heavily intoxicated and alone, and are also usually involving non-local students (and Victoria has an increasing number of non-local domestic students as well as a number of international students). The initiative encourages sensible drinking with four simple messages:

“Look after your mates” Don’t let your friends try and get home alone, particularly if they are intoxicated. Look after them, wherever they are.

“Have you eaten yet?” The WCC and the Bars are encouraging students to eat, which will slow down drinking and intoxication. Bars are offering cheap food options, particularly on student nights.

“How much is too much?” Again, encouraging sensible drinking and not to the point of total intoxication. Intoxicated people make bad choices. It’s important to know when to say when.

“How are you getting home?” To remind students to think about how they will get home safely. Don’t walk home alone, stay out of the “shadowed” areas, and perhaps take public transport or taxis. In addition, the bars are now offering free pick-up and return shuttles for their patrons.

I personally support this initiative. I think it’s a small gesture that can really make a difference. I also applaud the Establishment who have already begun offering a free van service for patrons. I congratulate all those who have taken part in this initiative and hope that it will be a catalyst for other bars in Wellington to embrace “host responsibility”.

So, look out at the above bars, as they remind people to have fun safely and responsibly. Watch out for your mates, plan ahead you way home, eat while you drink and know your limits.

Anyway, have fun while out on the town. This is Safety Sam signing off.

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