University holds Shamrockfest as alternative St. Paddy’s opportunity
BY Senior Reporter
St. Patrick’s Day was this Sunday, and Americans across the country spent it drinking beer and partying. Last year, the National Retail Federation predicted that 149 million Americans planned on spending a combined $5.9 billion on St. Patrick’s Day weekend.
This year Student Health and Wellness (SHW) hosted Shamrockfest, in order to provide an alternative way for students to celebrate the holiday.
Victoria Matarese, university alumna, returned to campus to attend this event.
“I’m not really a partier or drinker. I kind of avoid it, I always have,” Matarese said. “I thought this was a really great event. It’s a great way to get people away from that drinking atmosphere. It gives them something to do other than that and explains to them the dangers of drinking and partying.”
From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., SHW hosted activities, such as face painting, henna tattoos and zen coloring in Perkins Student Center. In addition, they gave out free food and drinks. All of these activities were set up not only for the students to have fun but to educate them on how to be safe when going to parties.
“We’re not asking you to stop because it’s college, but we want you to have food when you go out … if you look around there are Lyft coupons so you’re not walking alone or driving yourselves.” Udita Dutta, a peer wellness educator for SHW, said. “We give out free condoms.”
SHW used several activities — such as games and competitions — at Shamrockfest as educational tools. One was a trivia game that consisted entirely of questions to teach students the meaning of consent. Organizers handed out condoms with messages about consent written on them, provided electrolyte foods and gave out protein and fat-heavy food — which is best for you to eat before going out to drink, according to Datta.
Many of the problems that SHW addressed during Shamrockfest are prevalent during St. Patrick’s Day weekend. One such problem is alcohol. Between 2012 to 2016, nearly 69 percent of the crash fatalities that occurred between midnight and 6 a.m. the day after St. Patricks Day involved alcohol, according to a drunk driving information website called SoberingUp.
“This event is an alternative to drinking,” senior Leo Ventresca said. “They are trying to reduce the drinking prevalence on campus, so this is just a great way for students to spend their time without participating in those kinds of behaviors.”