New drinking and driving laws in B.C. have received a lot of media attention. Some say that random roadblocks are an infringement of our civil rights; others report that bars and restaurants have suffered a sharp decline in sales.
To find out what younger people are saying of the recent crackdown, Kwantlen students were asked what they think of the new drinking-driving laws and how their social drinking habits have changed because of them.
Anna Peregoudova, anthropology
“It’s obviously safer, but I work in the restaurant industry and I’ve noticed a lack of business. I haven’t been drinking much since school started, so I don’t think it’s affected me too badly.”
Nate Ferguson, psychology
“The new laws are good, because they’re trying to stop people from drinking and driving. I’m still tempted to go to the bar, have a couple of drinks and drive home. But ultimately, I’m not going to. It’s not worth it.”
Ashley Seller, general studies
“I think the punishments are too harsh. I don’t drink and drive, but I depend on friends for rides and I know they’re going out less. When we do go out, we get a cab home. It can be hard from down town though.”
Thomas Harskamp, sciences
“I don’t think they have particularly affected my social drinking habits. The lower limits have affected a lot of friends though. They’re not even willing to come out, have a couple drinks and drive home a few hours later, even after giving the alcohol a chance to metabolize.”
Brittney Taylor, psychology
“I think they’re ridiculous. For example, last weekend I had to wait an hour for a cab…transit is the biggest problem. I think they need to keep the trains running later.” Harskamp says the city needs to improve the transit system, from buses, to trains and taxis. “It also compounds a lot of the issues in the city with public transit. It’s not manageable to get home after a really late night.”
Reena Bali, the Richmond campus director, thinks that Kwantlen needs a better student life. That’s why she and other KSA members from the Richmond campus decided to put together a “licensed event” on Wednesday, Jan. 27.
The conference rooms at the Richmond campus were designated as the licensed area, where snacks such as chips and dip were provided, and alcohol was sold. Bali said the event, which was held from 1 to 7 p.m., took nearly two months to plan.
“Getting alcohol and food is very simple,” she said. “The longest part is getting the school to approve it, waiting to hear back, and then finding someone to get the liquor license.”
Students who came to the event had to present two pieces of ID to enter the designated licensed area, and were given a wristband to show they were of legal drinking age. There were also flyers that featured all local taxi numbers for students who needed a way home after the event.
Bali said the licensing event is a result of student interest. People repeatedly asked her, while the KSA was giving away free food, when the campus would “sell beer.”
“Richmond will probably be licensed in the long run,” she said. “We should be licensed because we need more of a university atmosphere. Most universities have some kind of licenesd area or a pub area, and Surrey has one… it’s part of the student culture and life that we don’t see here.”
Instead of going back into the KSA’s budget, 100 per cent of proceeds from alcohol sold at the event went to relief efforts in Haiti.