Drinking in Residence Life

Photo by Marco Pedri

Photo by Marco Pedri

Wilfrid Laurier University’s Residence Life believes they have developed the best possible policies and regulations to manage student behaviour in residence.

Residence Life policies cover a broad range of topics, from cooking appliances to lost keys. However the subject students invariably challenge the most are those concerning partying.

Although the mix of both underage and of-age students living together in residence may place some first-year students in uncharted waters, they aren’t the only ones receiving Residence Life’s alcohol violations.

Alcohol violations can be earned by legal drinkers for such infractions as possession of open alcohol in hallways or intoxication to the point of unruliness, and of course, by underage students in possession of alcohol.

The most frequent violation encountered is not simply underage drinking alone, but the phenomena of binge drinking.

“So students who are underage and are getting caught up in different scenarios for the first time that they might not know how to handle. And they over do it. Total intoxication and sometimes incapacitation,” said Clayton McCourt, associate director of Residence Life.

“We don’t focus on the alcohol violation at that point in time, we start to go into ‘ok, what do we need to do to get this person safe and secure and get them help?’”

Though binge drinking can affect anyone of any age, there is no doubt that it is more rampant in the context of social drinking and partying.

While Residence Life has policies in place concerning partying, it is up to Residence Life dons and advisors to enforce them within the building.

The presence of Duty Dons circulating throughout every building from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m. provides residence students with a reliable individual who is trained to handle situations or who simply knows who to contact given the circumstances.

The goal of living in residence is to build strong communities, which relies heavily on living with the students and building  rapports with them.

“A lot of it revolves around having former relationships with students,”said Carolyn Hough, don and community advisor in Willison Hall.  So knowing who they are and having a level of respect with them and them having a level of respect with you,” said Carolyn Hough, don and community advisor in Willison Hall.

“It’s a lot easier to break up a party, or have them understand that they’re breaking residence policy, when they have a personal relationship with you.”

More often than not, residence students are not the ones causing trouble.

With a growing emphasis placed on the control of guests in residence — the official limit being one per resident — there are regulations during events such as Homecoming with a strict wristband policy.

“That’s not something that we enforce all the time, right, because you could have six people in there watching a movie, or doing a study session, completely different,” said McCourt.

“So that alternates throughout the year a little bit, but we definitely regulate it a lot more strictly and are a lot more stringent on sort of the big weekends.”

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