Sober Fridays provides a fresh take on university social events
author: taylor balfour | news writer
on the wagon/ jeremy davis
URPride’s alternative to alcohol-based events on campus
While university nightlife often consists of drinking with friends or at bars, URPride is trying to change that.
Sober Fridays, as URPride describes, are weekly events that are directed toward students who aren’t planning on drinking alcohol.
“It happens every Friday (while classes are in session), runs from 7pm to 10pm, and is open to anyone looking for a positive sober space (students, community members, 2SLGBTQIAP+ folks, allies, etc),” said, Cat Haines, the program coordinator at URPride.
“Each week a facilitator organizes a semi-structured activity that participants can engage with in any way they desire, including just hanging out in the space and not participating!”
“People are sober for a lot of reasons,”
“They might be sober because of personal, familial, cultural, or religious values; because of a past history or negative experiences with alcohol; or maybe because they have a lot of studying to this weekend, and can’t be hungover.”
“Regardless of the reasons, it’s important that we acknowledge that not everyone drinks, and beyond that, that some people do not feel safe or comfortable around alcohol. As part of this acknowledgment, we felt it was important to take tangible steps towards creating more sober spaces on campus, and in Regina.”
When asked about the impact Haines hopes the event will have on campus, she said she wants it to be long-lasting.
“Sober Friday was created to address a need that we identified on campus, and throughout Regina.”
“Many (most) of the social events that occur on campus are centered around alcohol – whether directly, or indirectly (by being hosted in alcohol driven spaces such as The Owl). As a result, folks who are sober have really limited options when it comes to doing stuff.”
“This is a problem that’s mirrored throughout 2SLGBTQIAP+ communities, where there are often strong cultures of drug and alcohol use (and abuse),” She explains.
“We’re hoping to provide an alternative option for folks on Friday nights, so that if they want to go out and be social without drinking, or being around people who are drinking, it’s possible.”
In 2017, Global News reported that the rates of hospitalization due to alcohol abuse in Saskatchewan were “44 per cent higher than national average,” and for years Saskatchewan has been ranked as having the highest drinking and driving rate in Canada.
“We’re trying to do a couple things,” Haines said when asked about the goals of Sober Fridays.
“First and foremost, we’re trying to create a space where people come together, socialize and have a good time, and not be surrounded by alcohol.”
“Beyond providing space, an important part of these events is just normalizing the idea that not everyone drinks, and that it’s ok if you don’t drink, or want to to be around alcohol.”