Matie (US) students promoting the Buddy System at the annual RAG
Have a buddy on campus
15 June 2009 by Atmosphere Communications
The much-loved national student initiative, the Buddy Campaign, which has been running on varsity campuses over the past three decades, has received a considerable financial contribution from the Industry Association for Responsible Alcohol Use (ARA) to ensure that the individual campaigns remain strong and relevant.
The campaign, which has witnessed the involvement of thousands of students over the past 25 years, aims at promoting responsible drinking among students and creates awareness of the dangers of alcohol abuse, and in particular drinking and driving.
"This year the ARA has committed close to R200 000 to three chosen universities in support of their annual Buddy Campaigns to combat student alcohol abuse." says Adrian Botha, spokersperson of the Industry Association for Responsible Alcohol Use (ARA).
Through the Buddy Campaigns at the University of Stellenbosch (Maties), University of Kwazulu-Natal (UKZN) and Rhodes University in Grahamstown, awareness is generated regarding the dangers of drinking and driving with the goal of making it socially unacceptable and "uncool" to drive after exceeding the legal limit allowed for alcohol consumption. Particular attention is given to first year students by engaging them in activities such as a mascot dance, alcohol free events, orientation week guidance, exhibitions that focus on responsible drinking and a host of other fun-related initiatives.
"These key universities were targeted as they have either been consistently involved with the Buddy Campaign since its inception in the late 1980's or have shown initiative at promoting responsible alcohol use on campus. This campaign has become quite a tradition on many campuses in South African and we continue to see them grow from strength to strength," added Botha.
Part of the success of the Buddy Campaign at these universities includes the Buddy Busses at Maties which have proved to be enormously popular and were very well supported by the local pubs and businesses in the area. Pubs that contributed to Maties RAG were given special Buddy Campaign notice boards promoting pick-up spots for the Buddy Busses. The campaign at Rhodes University included the launch of the 'Get Home Safe' Project earlier this year that provides a vehicle offering a free transport service to all registered students to use as a safety precaution when they find themselves in a predicament. UKZN has taken a slightly different stance and concentrated its attention on mentoring first year students during their orientation period on life skills, which includes responsible drinking behaviour.
"A primary focus of the ARA is to combat underage drinking and promote responsible behaviour among young adults. We firmly believe that the Buddy Campaigns allow for this message to get across and we are proud to continue our association with these universities," said Botha.
The ARA is an association comprising members that include the major manufacturers of alcohol beverages in South Africa, such as SAB Ltd, members of the SA Liquor Brandowners Association (which include amongst others Distell, Brandhouse, KWV, Douglas Green, Bellingham, Pernod-Ricard), E Snell & Co Ltd, members of VinPro and members of Wine Cellars SA. A number of distributors and some retail chains such as Tops and Diamond Liquors have been welcomed as associate members.
The ARA is registered as a non-profit organization (NPO) with the Department of Social Development that focus on the prevention of the negative consequences of alcohol abuse. The association's mission is to reduce alcohol-related harm through combating the misuse and abuse of alcohol beverages and promoting only their responsible use.
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