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UL reaches standards of excellence for efforts to reduce alcohol harm among students

Dr Michael Byrne, REACT, Dr Bernadette Walsh, UL, Minister for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor and Ilona Haberska, UL, at the REACT awards accreditation in Dublin
Wed, 04 Sep 2019

University of Limerick has reached the standard of “excellence” in its application for REACT (Responding to Excessive Alcohol Consumption in Third Level), the awards accreditation that recognises and rewards an institution’s efforts to reduce alcohol related harm among its students.

UCC Health Matters, The Irish Student Health Association and Union of Students Ireland, collaborated on the development of the REACT project in 2015 with funding from the HSE, Healthy Ireland and the TOMAR trust.

Ilona Haberska, MA (Psych.) Deputy Head of Counselling, UL Éist Student Counselling and Wellbeing Service, attended the presentation in Dublin together with Dr Bernadette Walsh, Director of Student Affairs, recently where they collected the award which was presented by Minister for Higher Education Mary Mitchell O’Connor and Dr Michael Byrne.

The aim of the project is to encourage third level institutions to implement and evaluate multifaceted, strategic, evidence based, stakeholder-led action plan in each of the participating institutions which has the potential to lead to a sector-wide approach to reduce hazardous alcohol consumption among third-level students in Ireland.

University of Limerick President Dr Des Fitzgerald said that he was immensely proud of the project team and their efforts to bring this award to UL.

“Student welfare is one of the key focus points for us at UL, and our First Seven Weeks program is just one of the support structures we have in place for our newest members of the student population,” said Dr Fitzgerald.

“As the latest cohort of new students begin their orientation at UL, achieving this award underpins our commitment to them on their journey through third level. All of the supports that we have at UL have been developed in response to the experience of former students so we know that they are as impactful as they are supportive.

“We encourage our student body to be supportive of each other, respectful of the community and above all be representative of this institution and its values in a way that is aligned with our ethos.”

Dr Michael Byrne, Principal Investigator and Director with REACT, said that the project team at UL should be congratulated as they helped “to lead the response to the issue of excessive alcohol consumption in third level students and who collated the data to prepare the submission for the award”.