No Alcohol on Yonsei Campus

Posted on April 20, 2011

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Alcohol-free Yonsei Wonju campus

A campaign for a more pleasant campus culture

by Joseph Yo Sep Park

During freshmen orientation on February 24 until 26, the most curious thing missing for the freshmen was that there was no alcohol on campus and also no time for drinking on the official schedule. Usually, drinking and playing all night long during orientation has become an unusual phenomenon on Korean campuses. But on Yonsei’s campus, there was no alcohol at all. How was that possible?

To answer that question, one must turn to the “Green Campus Five Main Campaign” hosted by Yonsei University. This campaign also includes the running of a non-smoking zone, traffic safety culture, supervisor-free exam, and energy conservation. This campaign started in 2009 for a pleasant campus environment and culture. The “alcohol-free campus” campaign is having an effect by giving disadvantages to students who bring alcohol on campus. Also, there is no alcohol displayed on the school markets.

Overall, this campaign is working effectively and getting support from a lot of students. Yo Han Lee, an economics student at Yonsei, says it is a very good campaign and he agrees with its purpose. “The alcohol itself isn’t really a necessary thing. The reason that people like alcohol is that they can make friends over a glass of beer. But a friendship which was made over a drinking party is fragile. People can make friends when they are rational and it can last longer than the former situation.”

Like Lee said, alcohol-related relationships can be fragile. But usually, many relationships on campus between peers are made during drinking at the local hof. Bus as the university abandons alcohol use, there can be a problem of making friends, which is quite important to campus life.

Ju Hee So, a Wonju resident, says there should be some event to help forge friendships without the use of alcohol. “I myself don’t really like alcohol. But alcohol can be the best mood-making medium. So the school should create opportunities for students to make friends without alcohol.”

Contrary to these positive opinions about the campaign, there are some negative opinions too. Critics charge that the university shouldn’t impose on student’s rights which includes drinking alcohol at the legal age.

“There’s a point about not selling alcohol on campus, but I think it’s okay to drink a can of beer quietly on the open-air theater with friends,” said a student of business administration who wished not to be identified. She disagrees with the prohibition. “I don’t like the alcohol problem going too far, but I would be sad to have alcohol completely banned.”

There can be controversy if the campaign becomes too harsh on alcohol consumption. On the other hand, there has been an alcohol-related death on campus last year. It was a tragedy that involved a drunken pedestrian student. Considering that accident, the campaign and its purpose should not be overlooked.

There are a lot of bars and pubs close to campus. It is a bit burdensome, but students really do not hesitate to go there if they want a glass of soju with their good friends. Those who want to remain alcohol free can remain on a peaceful campus. For the majority of students at Yonsei University, the campaign is a great step for a pleasant and clean campus culture for them and a model for all Korean college campuses.

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