St. Patrick's Day gets green light at Saskatchewan universities

While universities in Ontario are warning students not to partake in excessive drinking in St. Partick's Day, Saskatchewan universities say it's business as usual, reminding students to be responsible.

Universities in Ontario stifling campus parties

Students are being warned by university officials to stay safe this St. Patrick's Day. (Jeffrey M. Smith/The Port Huron Times Herald/AP photo)

While some universities in Ontario are shutting down St. Patrick's Day celebrations, the University of Saskatchewan simply reminds students to party responsibly.

In the days leading up to the annual day of wearing green, drinking green beer and speaking in an Irish accent, post-secondary schools such as Wilfrid Laurier University in Waterloo, Ont., put out warnings to students reminding them Thursday is still a day of classes, and drunken shenanigans interfering with operations will not be tolerated.

The warnings come a year after 269 violations were reported to police in Waterloo during last year's St. Patrick's Day.

At the University of Saskatchewan the campus pub Louis' is holding a special $2 beer night on St. Patrick's Day, but the University expects the watering hole to abide by the laws like it was any other day.

"Whether it's $2 a beer or $20 a beer we have an expectation that they will follow the legal requirement in terms of the serving that takes place, that is our expectation," said Patti McDougall, vice-provost of teaching and learning with the U of S.
Patti McDougall, University of Saskatchewan vice-provost of teaching and learning. (CBC)

When asked about what she thought about Laurier's plan to try and stifle any parties, she said the U of S is taking a more positive approach, and activating a student force to educate the campus public on the dangers of binge-drinking.

She added security services will patrol the campus knowing these events are taking place so they'll be checking up on people in residences and common areas. 

"I challenge any university to be able to say that they are going to forbid the drinking that takes place, I think it's a bit of a reach," McDougall said, adding a student run awareness group called What's Your Cap has been in the hallways this week cautioning students planning on binging on several pints.

Madison Huggins is one a many volunteers with What's Your Cap and she admits her group isn't out there trying to get students to stop drinking on Thursday.
Madison Huggins with What's Your Cap at the University of Saskatchewan is cautioning students against binge-drinking on St. Patrick's Day. (CBC)

"I want them just to think about how much they're actually consuming and what a standard drink size is because a lot of people don't know that," Huggins told CBC News. "You can go out and drink and have fun but always think about doing that in moderation and not taking it too far."

University of Regina says rules stay the same

A spokesperson for the University of Regina said the school takes the health, safety and well-being of our students very seriously and they have plans in place to encourage responsible behaviour at all times and St. Patrick's Day is no exception. 

The U of R campus bar The Owl will is expected be open as usual on St. Patrick's Day. The school said there is strict management and monitoring of all alcohol regulations.

"The University also has resources and processes in place to address potential issues should they arise throughout the year."

March 17: Biggest day of the year for Irish pubs

Off campus, Irish pubs in Saskatoon including the Thirsty Scholar on 8th Street is gearing up for the busiest day of the year.

Mark Hauk said for the past two years the bar has been packed full of jolly patrons and not once has the party spun out of control.

"We're bringing in bagpipers, we have live music, we have a DJ that's going to be playing upstairs his name is Little Irish so you got to know what you're going to be getting when you come here," Hauk said. "Everyone wants to be Irish for a day and they come down here and it is our biggest day of the year."


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