The next trend in housing?

USAToday reports on what appears to be a first in the United States: mandatory alcohol education for students living in an off-campus sorority house.

Not a bad idea at all, frankly, this should be a serious component of orientation in on-campus residences as well.

I took the University of Manitoba alcohol education program as part of my responsibilities when UMSU Council representative for St. Andrew’s College. (This put me on the College Student Association Council and it was as part of the college SA that I took the training)

The UMSAFE training, as it is called, was a joke. It didn’t change anyone’s mindset and half of the room lacked the maturity to not crack jokes during the two hour seminar. The instructor didn’t care if anyone was paying attention – he was just doing the motions.

The training had no effect on behaviour in university controlled Tache/Speechly Halls – the student "government" ran events where the effect purpose was for people to get drunk out of their minds. There were a few people who didn’t drink in the building and the student government made sure they knew they weren’t welcome at their socials.

Alcohol awareness is great, but it must be effective – not just window dressing for landlords to claim their doing something. In the case of the training I took, I left it feeling that it was more about limiting liability than changing attitudes.

(For the record, we organized an event with free beer at St. Andrew’s College. Our way of making sure nobody drank too much was to buy "Lucky" beer. You know, the cheap stuff that you can’t stand drinking – nobody drinks much of that stuff. Everybody got two cans, non-alcoholic drinks were free and people got all they got eat off the BBQ.)