Ben Ward and Logan Campbell, both of Wellington, gear up for St Patrick’s Day. Photo / Gregor Richardson
Amid stern warnings about drinking responsibility, students are planning to get “absolutely horsed” as early as possible to celebrate St Patrick’s Day today.
Students spoken to by the Otago Daily Times yesterday said they were revving (excited) about the major party day, and many were planning to drink to excess from early morning.
Celebrations last year were marred when two students were severely injured after they fell from buildings and several couch fires were lit.
One student said she planned to start today early, by sharing a champagne breakfast with her flatmates before heading out to join their green-clad friends.
The early start was something of an Otago tradition.
“You’re not doing it right if you’re not up and at it early,” she said.
Another student had a succinct and simple answer when asked about her plans for the day – she would be “getting absolutely horsed”.
One student said he was particularly excited about the chance to honour Saint Patrick, “the apostle of Ireland”.
Another was pleased this year’s celebrations were on a Friday, so she would not have to worry about a crushing hangover interfering with lectures the next day.
She would be taking a tactical nap around lunchtime, then heading out again to join the fray with those planning to sleep in and start their revelries later in the day, the student said.
Senior Sergeant Anthony Bond, of Dunedin, said extra officers had been rostered on and there would be a police presence in and around north Dunedin for the whole day.
Flats had been encouraged to register their parties with Good One and police had made contact with occupants to remind them of their responsibilities, Snr Sgt Bond said.
Police had warned students about the dangers of getting on roofs and those doing so could find themselves arrested and referred to the proctor.
Officers had also been working with liquor outlets to promote alternatives to glass bottles.
Large numbers of first years were expected to congregate in the Bracken’s Lookout area and it was likely that large numbers of older students would congregate in the vicinities of Castle St and Butts Rd.
Students were encouraged to drink responsibly and Red Frogs would be present handing out water and lollies, Snr Sgt Bond said.
University of Otago student services director Claire Gallop said the flat gatherings and street parties today would not be endorsed by the university, but it would be working with partners to promote safety.
The university took the pastoral care of its students extremely seriously and spent a large number of resources promoting good decision-making.
Messaging – including asking students not to break glass or hang out on roofs – had been directed to students through email, the undergraduate newsletter, Instagram and the university’s student app.
Campus watch would continue its 24/7 operations and the university would continue to operate as usual with no planned changes because of St Patrick’s Day, Gallop said.