News story: BEIS Committee members visit Sellafield site

first_imgDecommissioning the congested Sellafeld site is the most challenging environmental remediation project in Europe. Three members of BEIS Select Committee visited the site, to learn about the challenges and progress being made in reducing hazards and risks at the site.The committee’s primary focus is on the management of radioactive waste, and Chair of the Committee, Rachel Reeves MP (Leeds West) was accompanied on the visit by fellow Committee members Mark Pawsey MP (Rugby) and Peter Kyle MP (Hove).The MPs witnessed some of the innovative work being carried out on one of the high priority facilities on the site. They were joined by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority CEO David Peattie and former MP, now Sellafield Ltd’s head of development and community relations, Jamie Reed.The full story on the Sellafield visit can be found on Politics at Home.last_img read more

Irrigation research

first_imgThe latest research on irrigation technology will be presented Aug. 1 at the University of Georgia’s Stripling Irrigation Research Park in Camilla, Ga. Researchers from the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, who are pioneering new technologies for more efficient, large-scale irrigation, conduct an irrigation field day each year. This year, in addition to new irrigation technologies, they will discuss how to use advanced cultivation methods to cope with problems caused by this year’s heavy rains. “I believe that anybody that attends will learn a good bit,” said Calvin Perry, superintendent of Stripling Irrigation Research Park. “(Visitors will) come away with an understanding of how important irrigation scheduling can be for enhancing yield and quality, while at the same time, being conservation minded.”Perry said field day participants will also learn how newer varieties are performing under full irrigation versus less or no irrigation and how some fungicides interact with irrigated crops.The park’s researchers will also showcase ongoing UGA research projects on row crops like cotton, corn, peanuts and sweet corn. Advanced irrigation topics will include: “Can sub-surface drip be used with cotton, corn or peanuts?” “What new ways can farmers grow sweet corn on drip irrigation?” and “What new varieties are being researched that can be efficient users of water?” “I think a grower or consultant or anyone else interested in these topics will come away with new knowledge and if not all their questions are answered, at least it will steer them in the right direction and perhaps show them which scientists they need to talk to one-on-one,” Perry said.Like most farms in the southeast, Stripling Irrigation Research Park has received its share of rain this summer. This provides challenges for researchers who are studying irrigation’s impact on certain crops. “It is posing some interesting issues this year,” Perry said. “Before the rains came in late June (and) early July, we had really established a pattern in our tests where we were irrigating different amounts for different times. Looking at the crops today, I think those treatment effects are still evident, maybe not as pronounced before the rains came. It’s interesting that even today, we’re irrigating certain plots because those plots are calling for irrigation already.”Perry added that the sandy soils in the Georgia’s Coastal Plain region don’t hold much water and need water on a regular basis.Registration for the field day, which is free, will start at 8:30 a.m. with the first tour scheduled for 9 a.m. CAES administrators and Jud Turner, director of the Environmental Protection Division of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, will conduct a program at 10 a.m. A second tour will be led at 11 a.m., followed by lunch at 12:15 p.m.To pre-register for the field day, contact Candy Gray at 229-522-3623 or by email at [email protected]last_img read more

Abbe Sweeney joins VABVI as new development assistant

first_imgSteve Pouliot, Executive Director for the Vermont Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (VABVI), is pleased to announce that Abbe Sweeney recently joined the staff as the development assistant. This position is based in the Burlington office.A native Vermonter and Colchester High School graduate, Abbe currently resides in Burlington. She has an Associates Degree in PC Networking fromChamplain College and is working towards a Bachelors Degree in business. Her responsibilities in her new position include recording daily gifts, mailing donor acknowledgments, assisting with direct mail campaigns and other development projects. In her free time, Abbe enjoys travel, reading, yoga and cooking.VABVI was founded in 1926 with the assistance of Helen Keller and the American Foundation for the Blind. The organization is the only private,non-profit organization in the state providing comprehensive training and support services for visually impaired Vermonters of all ages. They also provide information about adaptive equipment that can help after vision loss. VABVI offices are located in Brattleboro, Burlington, Montpelier, and Rutland. Call 1-800-639-5861 or write [email protected](link sends e-mail) for more information. Our website is located at is external)\main.last_img read more

Fridays on the Fly: 4 Reasons Not to Miss the Orvis Down the Hatch Festival in Asheville, NC

first_imgLater this week, Asheville NC will again become the host of one of the largest gatherings of professional fly fishing guides in the nation. The 32nd annual Orvis Guide Rendezvous is a 3-day experience where outfitters & guides, lodge owners, and fly shops from all over the country meet up, network, and learn from one another but most directly from the leaders of Orvis, one of the oldest and most successful brands in the business.While some of that time is closed to the general public, the Rendezvous this year culminates on Saturday, April 14 in the Down the Hatch Festival from noon onward at Highland Brewing. DTH is a grand celebration of all things fly fishing that anyone can attend…even if the only thing you associate with fly fishing is Brad Pitt backlit by a golden sunset false casting a million times in the classic book-to-film “A River Runs Through It”. (Actually…that means especially you should attend Down the Hatch!) Here are four more reasons not to miss it: Celebrate historyFun Fact: Being in existence for over 150 years, Vermont-based Orvis is not only one of the most revered and respected fly fishing brands in the industry, they are also THE longest-running mail order business in the nation. Also, their Guide Rendezvous is now in its 32nd year and has made Asheville their every-other-year east coast counterpart to the other Rendezvous hub…the fly fishing kingdom of Missoula, Montana. So that alone speaks highly of Orvis seeing Asheville for the trout mecca that it is on this side of the Rockies.Do good Thanks to Klean Kanteen’s partnership with Orvis, the festival is proud to be another “Kick Plastic” event in the ongoing mission to eliminate disposable water bottles. Klean Kanteen will be handing out 500 FREE pint glasses to the first 500 people through the door! Water stations will also be provided by Klean Kanteen to help keep you hydrated as you enjoy Highland Brewing’s tasty suds.Speaking of those Highland beers and doing good, 50 cents of every beer poured will go to several local stream conservation projects headed up by Asheville’s local Land O’ Sky Trout Unlimited chapter. The beers and the “do good” vibes will carry on into the evening where the proceeds from ticket sales for the night’s film festival will also go to the stream conservation projects.Eat, drink, and be merry Just hanging out at this festival and enjoying the sun in the Highland’s meadow will cost you zero dollars, but there will be plenty of delicious food and beer to keep you satisfied throughout the day. And this IS a festival so of course expect to hear great free live music from The Clydes at 12:30 and festival bluegrass headliner The Jakob’s Ferry Stragglers at 4:15. While enjoying the meadow, you’re also going to want to explore the vendors to see all of the latest and greatest equipment, gear, and apparel. And definitely, don’t miss one of the loved highlights of the day…the Guide Olympics!Be inspired (and possibly win big!)The Down the Hatch film festival starting at 7:00 pm inside the brewery is the much-anticipated event to conclude the festival. Not only will attendees be inspired and amazed by a curated collection of some of the world’s hottest and best fly fishing films, but every ticket holder will be entered into the raffle including an incredible range of gear and prizes from festival sponsors and vendors. But the grand prize? A once-in-a-lifetime getaway for two to an undisclosed world-class Orvis adventure destination! Tickets are $15 and can be purchased here. Again the proceeds will go to local WNC stream restoration and conservation projects.For more information and a breakdown of the schedule check it out here! Hope to see you there!last_img read more

Wine Spectator: Croatia won 3rd place with a Zagreb wine story

first_imgBy the way, Zagreb is the hometown of a sommelier with a WSET L3 degree and the founder of the Sekunde Digital agency, Martina Miličević, but also probably a lesser-known wine destination for wine lovers who come to Croatia.  As Miličević points out, the idea behind the project was to show how little we need to escape from the metropolis to another, wine world. Even if we are not a wine lover, every wine road in Zagreb County offers numerous facilities and truly enchanting nature. A short video that takes the viewer through the dynamic wine scene of Zagreb and the nearby vineyards was shot in collaboration with the Zagreb Tourist Board. That this is a significant promotion is shown by the fact that the digital edition of this reputable magazine, which focuses on wines & lifestyle, is visited by 1,1 million readers a month, and interestingly only advertising on such visited publications is much higher than investing in video production. The Zagreb agency reports: Award-winning video Winetastic Path Home see attached. If we add that the average American tourist in Croatia spends twice as much, almost 160 euros a day, this is a great way to communicate to the target market. And there is almost no competition because most of the stories are focused on wineries and the stories of their founders It was Wine Spectator that held it Video Contest 13th year in a row with the promotion of wine destinations, and in which a Zagreb wine story attracted attention and won the first world award for video production in the field of wine in Croatia.  The idea for the promotion of Zagreb at Wine Spectator is the result of cooperation between the tourist board and Sekunda Digital, an agency that specializes in these two domains, tourism and eno-gastronomy. The competition for winemakers is demanding, many American wineries use video in their strategies but few destinations use wine stories for this type of promotion. “The emphasis of this competition, as well as many other promotions, is always a story. Freelance, beautiful shots are often lost in the sea of ​​promotional videos we watch daily. The story remains. If we include in video production the powerful message we want to send, find credible people who can transmit it and find a channel where it could be sent, there is a great chance of success. Authentic and credible is something to strive for in communication. And communication is the basis of any good promotion. If you get people involved, then you’re a good promoter. ” Milicevic concludes. “We encountered a number of difficulties in trying to show winemakers the potential of video collaboration and the importance of consultation throughout the process. We decided to show them what they can do. No winemaker from Croatia has ever applied for this world competition. He had no one to advise them and we are working to help them and change that together. It is very easy to record a promo video that you will only publish once. It is very difficult to find a partner in production who will suggest that you use the recorded video materials for different purposes and think outside the box. We are very grateful for the cooperation with TZG Zagreb, which recognized the potential of such video collaborations”Points out Martina Miličević from the agency Sekunde Digital.  Wine Spectator is the largest-circulation wine magazine in the world, and being present in it is an imperative of every wine destination and winemaker.  Namely, the video Winetastic Path Home, produced by Sekunde Digital, a specialized marketing agency in the wine and tourism sector, won 3rd place and, more importantly, great attention in the US market. This is the first time in 13 years that they have organized a Video Contest on the topic of wine, recognition and 3rd place went to Croatia with a Zagreb wine story.last_img read more

Ministry, SOEs agree to $67.3m road preservation deal

first_imgThe Public Works and Housing Ministry agreed on Monday to a public-private partnership (PPP) on road preservation in South Sumatra’s eastern road network. The deal is worth Rp 982 billion (US$67.3 million) and is the ministry’s first PPP deal for a non-toll road project.Through the agreement, state-owned construction companies PT Adhi Karya and PT Brantas Abipraya secured a 15-year concession for the operation and preservation of South Sumatra’s 29.8 kilometers of roads under an availability payment scheme.Availability payment is a fee structure where a public agency makes periodic payments to the private sector to provide infrastructure services of a specified standard. It is seen as a cost-saving way to develop infrastructure and ensure its quality. Read also: Corruption risk to Indonesia’s infrastructure push: ExpertsThe concession period for the consortium company, PT Jalintim Adhi-Abipraya (JAA), will be divided into a 3-year construction period and a 12-year service period, according to a project outline released by the Public Works and Housing Ministry.Finance Ministry government support management and infrastructure funding director Bramantyo Istidjoso said the project was backed by the government through the state infrastructure guarantee fund PT Penjaminan Infrastruktur (PII) and that the availability payment scheme fund would be sourced from the state budget.The World Bank previously suggested the government improve its PPP financing schemes to attract more private capital to help cover the government’s budget shortage for infrastructure.The government has also been urged to decrease its reliance on state-owned enterprises (SOE) for the execution of toll and national road projects and to allow private companies to build economically viable projects as SOEs were already highly leveraged.“We recommend the government revise its decision-making and consider whether the project is good for leveraging private financing before looking at the potential allocation for public-sector financing,” World Bank transportation specialist Elena Chesheva said.Last year, the government awarded a consortium that included the investment, consulting and management arms of Singapore’s Changi Airport a PPP to expand Komodo Airport in East Nusa Tenggara.The project, the first PPP for airport development, is expected to attract more tourists to Labuan Bajo, which has been designated a priority tourism site by the government.Read also: Private sector infrastructure funding needs boost as SOEs overleveraged: World BankTopics : Public Works and Housing Minister Basuki Hadimuljono said he hoped the PPP scheme would boost the reliability of contractors and the quality of roads, after the poor performance of a contractor on the ministry’s West Sumatra eastern road network.“We aim to provide good infrastructure quality for economic activity,” he said in an online press briefing on Monday, adding that the PPP scheme was expected to improve transparency.The National Development Planning Agency (Bappenas) has estimated that the country will require $429.7 billion in infrastructure investment, equal to 6.1 percent of GDP, between 2020 and 2024.The private sector is expected to provide most of the financing, while the government and state-owned enterprises (SOEs) are expected to contribute between 19.2 and 21.7 percent each.last_img read more

Why Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s winning goal for Arsenal should have been disallowed

first_img Comment Advertisement Calum Chambers was lurking behind the wall, within a yard of it (Picture: Sky Sports)‘From now on, when there is a wall of three or more defenders, the attacking players will not be allowed within a yard of it,’ reads the new rule on the Premier League’s website.AdvertisementAdvertisementADVERTISEMENT‘If one is caught standing within that area when the free-kick is taken, the referee will award an indirect free-kick against them.’ Advertisement Why Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang’s winning goal for Arsenal should have been disallowed Ewan RobertsMonday 23 Sep 2019 12:05 pmShare this article via facebookShare this article via twitterShare this article via messengerShare this with Share this article via emailShare this article via flipboardCopy link1.2kSharescenter_img As Aubameyang hit the ball, David Luiz also ran across the front of the wall (Picture: Sky Sports)But both referee Jonathan Moss and VAR failed to spot that Calum Chambers was backing onto the wall, blocking goalkeeper Tom Heaton’s view, and was well within the one yard restriction.As Aubameyang struck the ball, David Luiz also ran in front of the wall and was, likewise, within the one yard restriction zone the new rule was designed to eradicate. Mings tried to highlight that Chambers was encroaching on the wall (Picture: Sky Sports)Villa defender Tyrone Mings actually appealed to the referee at the time, pointing at Chambers as Arsenal’s players wheeled away in celebration, but his complaints were ignored.The decision compounds another miserable weekend for Premier League referees and VAR, with referee Moss also missing what appeared to be a clear handball against Arsenal later in the same game and VAR widely criticised for ruling out a Tottenham goal for a miniscule offside call.Should Aubameyang’s goal have been disallowed?Yes0%No0%Share your resultsShare your resultsTweet your results Aston Villa should have been awarded a free-kick after the Gunners broke a new rule (Picture: Getty)Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang should have seen his winning goal for Arsenal against Aston Villa chalked off for breaking a newly introduced rule regarding attackers interfering with the wall.The Gunners fought back valiantly on Sunday at the Emirates, twice coming back from a goal down with 10 men to claim a thrilling 3-2 victory sealed with Aubameyang’s late free-kick.However, at least one Arsenal player was guilty of breaching a new Premier League rule which is designed to prevent the attacking team from disrupting the defending team’s wall. Emery’s thoughts after Arsenal’s comeback 3-2 win over Aston VillaTo view this video please enable JavaScript, and consider upgrading to a web browser that supports HTML5 video Play VideoLoaded: 0%0:00Progress: 0%PlayMuteCurrent Time 0:00/Duration Time 8:31FullscreenEmery’s thoughts after Arsenal’s comeback 3-2 win over Aston Villa is a modal window.Beginning of dialog window. Escape will cancel and close the window.TextColorWhiteBlackRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentBackgroundColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyOpaqueSemi-TransparentTransparentWindowColorBlackWhiteRedGreenBlueYellowMagentaCyanTransparencyTransparentSemi-TransparentOpaqueFont Size50%75%100%125%150%175%200%300%400%Text Edge StyleNoneRaisedDepressedUniformDropshadowFont FamilyProportional Sans-SerifMonospace Sans-SerifProportional SerifMonospace SerifCasualScriptSmall CapsReset restore all settings to the default valuesDoneClose Modal DialogEnd of dialog window.More: Arsenal FCArsenal flop Denis Suarez delivers verdict on Thomas Partey and Lucas Torreira movesThomas Partey debut? Ian Wright picks his Arsenal starting XI vs Manchester CityArsene Wenger explains why Mikel Arteta is ‘lucky’ to be managing Arsenallast_img read more

Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe impressed by Stoke despite poor start

first_img “When I have reviewed Stoke’s games I have been very impressed,” said Howe. “They don’t look like a team that haven’t won yet. They are the kind of side that you will see in a few weeks and they will be in a very different position. “But we don’t need to worry about that. We know that if we are at our best levels we can beat anyone in this league, so it’s down to us. “The performance against Sunderland was good, but we will prepare for Stoke on an individual basis. “We are not at the stage where we can start to group games together. We want points from every game.” The manager’s confidence is such, despite his team having to travel to Stoke without captain Tommy Elphick and midfielder Harry Arter due to injury. “Both Tommy and Harry are still out,” Howe said. “Tommy has flown to Sweden to get an update on his injury and Harry is still continuing his rehab. “Harry has had a little niggle this week, not on his original injury, so it’s just a case of letting that settle down. But that’s only natural when you’ve been out for the length of time that he has. “Tommy has gone to see a specialist he used when he was at Brighton. Hopefully after that it will be a case of building him back up quite quickly.” Eddie Howe has warned his Bournemouth team not to be misled by Stoke’s disappointing start to the season. Press Associationcenter_img The summer arrivals of Xherdan Shaqiri, Ibrahim Afellay and Marco van Ginkel led to significantly raised expectations surrounding Mark Hughes’ team but they have yet to win in their six Premier League fixtures so far. They next host Bournemouth, who in a reasonable start to their league campaign most recently defeated Sunderland, but manager Howe is conscious that Stoke’s performances have deserved greater results. last_img read more

Special Olympics to hold events at USC venues

first_imgSeveral competitions for the 2015 Special Olympics World Games will be held at USC facilities when Los Angeles hosts the games from July 25 to Aug. 2 for the first time since 1984.Among the venues included as part of the games are the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, which will host the opening and closing ceremonies this summer, the Galen Center, Cromwell Field and the Uytengsu Aquatic Center.In addition to USC, several venues throughout the county will be used, including facilities in Long Beach, Downtown, Griffith Park, Encino and UCLA.Established in the 1960s by Eunice Kennedy Shriver, the sister of former President John F. Kennedy, the Special Olympics is the largest organization for athletes with intellectual disabilities. The organization began as a day camp at Shriver’s Maryland home. Since then, the competition has grown to include participants from more than 170 countries. The games alternate between summer and winter seasons and are held every two years. The 2015 games will be the first summer games hosted by a U.S. city since 1999. Recent hosts include Athens, Shanghai and Dublin.Steven Vanderpool, senior vice president of communications and media operations for the Los Angeles 2015 Special Olympics, predicted a turnout of 7,000 athletes and 3,000 coaches at the 2015 games, and a half-million spectators are expected to attend. According to Vanderpool, however, that is a conservative estimate considering the promotion of the event has yet to reach its height.“We have fantastic partners in terms of donating ad space on billboards, bus stations, TV and radio, “ Vanderpool said. “AMC Theatres is running a World Games trailer. Toyota is doing a number of events to bring awareness. Coca-Cola, who is no stranger to large sporting events, has actually been a partner of Special Olympics since day one.”Vanderpool also commended his organizing partners at USC.“Our main contact has been Dr. Carol Dougherty, who used to work with the athletic department. There are also a number of other departments that we work with. It’s been great,” Vanderpool said. “USC hosted the summer invitational this last year, [where] we ran a successful test event.”Both USC and UCLA will host athlete villages; two-thirds of the athletes and coaches are staying at USC and another third will stay at UCLA.Vanderpool said that performances for the opening and closing ceremonies are still yet to be confirmed. He did confirm, however, that Five Currents, a production firm based in Redondo Beach, would design the ceremonies. The company’s past projects include the London Olympics and Sochi Olympics.Meghan Stephens, president of USC Best Buddies, said that the campus organization is promoting its members to independently volunteer for the event.“Best Buddies supports the Special Olympics and works with [them] on many events including the Spread the Word to End the Word campaign [a campaign that is geared toward stopping the use of the word “retarded”],” Stephens said. “Because the event begins in July, the USC chapter is not participating as a whole because most members will not be at USC during summer vacation. However, we encourage all members [staying on campus] to volunteer and be involved in both the planning and execution of the Special Olympics.”[Correction: An earlier version of this story stated that Dr. Carol Dougherty currently works with the Athletic Department at USC. She no longer works there now. The Daily Trojan regrets the error.]last_img read more

To the Brim: How USC is fighting a stubborn culture of binge drinking

first_imgThe Row was abuzz with partygoers shifting in and out of pulsing houses along the half-mile stretch of fraternity homes on 28th Street. As the clock inched toward 12 a.m., the Thursday night festivities were approaching their enforced conclusions.Sophomore Katie McCool was tired. The night had been long, there was class for her in the morning and she was ready to go home. But as she was about to leave a party with a group of friends, she noticed a girl in the hallway struggling to stand. The girl was alone, disorientated and nearly unconscious.“It was clear she couldn’t handle herself,” McCool said. “She was very intoxicated.”A small crowd formed. People debated calling for help: DPS, 911, a roommate. “No, she’s conscious,” someone said. “She’s responsive.” McCool and the group eventually agreed on a happy medium; They phoned student EMTs, who, upon arrival, said she was well enough to be taken home. McCool and one of her friends tucked the girl into an Uber, eventually putting her to bed and in the care of her roommate. The girl eventually recovered, but throughout the night, she vomited, sweat through the sheets and foamed at the mouth. These are symptoms of alcohol poisoning, which can be a lot more serious than just a brutal hangover the next day. As the University continues to rise into the upper echelons of academia, a lingering challenge remains as to how to break up a stubborn binge-drinking culture that is putting students’ lives at risk not just on the Row, but all throughout the campus community. A Stubborn MinorityBinge drinking, typically classified as having five or more drinks in a short period of time, has long been a staple of a college culture where students will drink to dangerous extremes. USC is no exception, and it is the leading cause of Trojans being sent from late-night parties strewn around campus straight into the local emergency room.“When we look back at the data, we see a growing number of students who are being transported to hospitals over the past 10 years for the overconsumption of alcohol,” said Ainsley Carry, vice president for Student Affairs.Data collected by the University since the early 2000s show that the numbers of undergraduates participating in “high-episodic” drinking — defined as the consumption of five or more drinks for males and four or more drinks for females on at least one occasion in the past two weeks  — is both above the national average and rising. According to the 2014-2015 Impact Report compiled by AlcoholEdu for the University,  nearly a third of the USC student population had binge drank within the past two weeks during the fall semester, a four percent increase from 2006.Not surprisingly, then, a steady stream of underclassmen is being rushed to hospitals after overestimating their drinking limits. In just the first few weeks of this school year alone, there have been nearly 50 alcohol-related medical transports on and around the University Park Campus. The mass majority of those incidents have involved underage, first-year students.It’s an issue that has severely gripped the attention of campus administrators and student groups alike. The overarching theme of their efforts is clear: stop the fringe culture of binge drinking in its tracks.“We have a brand as a party school,” Carry said. “Some students come here and think it’s what everyone else is doing, but the truth is 90 percent of our student population manages themselves responsibly.”From the Impact Report, of the nearly 3,000 students that arrive on campus each year, 59 percent come in as non-drinkers – meaning they haven’t had a sip of alcohol in the past two weeks, a 6 percent increase from 2006. Abstainers, or those who haven’t touched a drink in the past year, make up 29 percent of that. But by 45 days into the semester, that first group is down to 44 percent. The abstainers? Decreases to 24 percent. Somehow along the way, students are picking up a drinking habit, and in dangerous amounts. Binge drinking, too, jumps from 21 percent to 32 percent. “Alcohol use in high school students has gone down over the years, so more students are coming to us as non-drinkers,” said Paula Swinford, director for the Office of Wellness and Health Promotion. “One of our challenges is how to hold onto them.”A Space for Non-DrinkersFor administrators, the key to maintaining these “non-drinkers” is offering programming that doesn’t center on alcohol. If the student doesn’t drink, ‘Good,’ they say. Their mission is to provide an alternative so the pressure to go out and party dissipates.“Residents tell me they are not a huge drinker or partier, but that’s the only way to hang out with their friends in that group,” said Heather Lee, vice president of advocacy for Residential Student Government. “The idea is that partying is the primary social event, and if you don’t do that, there’s no way to hang out.To combat these residents’ preconceived notions, the Office of Residential Education rolled out “Cardinal and Gold Events” last year, which are late-night, alcohol-alternative functions Thursdays through Saturdays. And so far, they’ve been quite the success. ResEd Director Emily Sandoval couldn’t help but smile when describing a Pinterest-themed craft event this month that had more than 200 people in attendance – on a Friday night.“It’s nice just to know that the students who are coming out to the late-night programs — it’s for them,” she said. “It’s for students who think there’s nothing else going on on campus.”Those Cardinal and Gold events have been supplemented this year with Late Night ’SC, programming offered to all USC students, not just residents, that also offers non-alcohol-centric events during prime social hours on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. And this year’s expansion of programming for student housing, or “Residential Colleges,” is envisioned as a way to provide a social community for students with events that aren’t about alcohol.The crux of these efforts is to normalize non-drinking behavior before it starts.When Swinford from OWHP speaks about drinking’s effects on young college students, her characteristically cheerful demeanor stiffens. Working at the University since 1987, she’s witnessed the worst possible outcome of binge drinking.“I have lived through student deaths due to alcohol,” Swinford said. “Nobody wants that.”For her, it’s all about education — convincing students that there are more consequences to drinking than just a nasty hangover. The neurological damage is what worries her.Advances in brain science have shown, Swinford said, that the human brain goes through as much change between the ages of 19 and 24 as from birth until 5 years old. “If we are going to really provide an elite educational experience, we have to be up front how you are messing with the equipment if you’re drinking,” she said.Swinford, of course, understands the reality. Students coming to this university will drink, as they have in the past and likely will into the foreseeable future. But in her ideal world, it’s not really about educating young students how to drink, but rather, how not to.“I would have told you in 1987 that we could teach an 18-year-old how to drink responsibility,” she said. “What worries me now is I don’t think we can.”Before It’s Too LateThe question remains, however, on what to do about the students they can’t save right away, the students who just can’t seem to stop indulging in dangerous drinking behavior.“We know it will happen, so we want to find out what is the desire or the culture that pushes people to drink alcohol to the point where they’re unconscious,” Carry said.This is Carry’s ballpark. For him and his department, it’s about providing policy and environmental changes to the campus that will help students who have drunk too much, while also empowering them with the skill development to monitor their own behavior.In 2013, Student Affairs implemented an amnesty policy, which said if a student calls for medical help relating to underage drinking, they won’t be sanctioned. It then updated the social events policy, which hadn’t been touched much since 1992, with the realities of student behavior.Changes included extending Thursday night events to 12 a.m. and weekend events to 2 a.m. The thought behind the change was that students were drinking faster to beat the prior deadline. With a later party, hopefully, that behavior is more drawn out.And those free USC Ubers, rolled out in fall 2014, were about more than just getting students from one block of campus to another. With average usage sitting at roughly 13,000 rides a week, the goal is that it curbs the desire to drink and drive. Its use is not always about alcohol, but that’s all right, Carry said. If it can help during a pivotal moment, it’s working.Trevor Sochocki | Daily TrojanThe Greek community has also received a renewed focus. Both the Interfraternity and Panhellenic Councils are continually working with administration to combat the dangers of underage binge drinking that can plague their social events. For example, this semester,  Panhellenic has offered chapter programming to supplement AlcoholEdu, discussing the underlying dangers and causes of binge drinking, as well as augmented partnerships with campus health and wellness organizations. Last semester, the Fraternity and Sorority Leadership Development updated an 11-page list of regulations for Greek-related social events. In particular, Row parties that serve alcohol must have a guest list approved 24 hours in advance, specifically mark underage drinkers, serve only beer and wine, hire a security guard for every 50 people present and limit men and women to within public areas of the party until 8 a.m. the following morning.Questions do remain on the enforcement of such social event policies. Girls in attendance at these parties have reported the veiled inclusion of hard alcohol and the spotty screening of underage drinkers. And when partygoers’ hands are Sharpied with a black “x,” they can often be quickly wiped off or ignored by fraternity members tending bar. In a statement to the Daily Trojan, IFC said policy violations like these are strictly enforced by the OFSLD, the IFC judicial board and the Department of Public Safety. They stressed the many problems from binge drinking stem rather from “pregaming” Row events.“This is an issue which we, in partnership with all other councils, are working to solve with the continued enforcement of the Event Registration guidelines and renewed commitment to wellness education,” the statement read. But such actions are not limited to the Row. Without such explicit restrictions, off-Row events allow an even greater access to hard alcohol and tacit approval of underage drinking. Parties lining nearby streets like Menlo Avenue and Ellendale Place too feature irregular ID checks with much less University regulation than the Greek community faces. These issues — both after-hours and off-campus — are far from the field of vision of campus administrators. There is the belief, then, that some responsibility must lie on the student for the spaces administrators can’t reach. The idea is that students must want to change. “What worries me most is that somehow or another the students look to the University to fix it. ‘You guys make us safe. What’s the university doing to keep me safe?’” Swinford said. “The University will continue to reduce risk and try to be clear about message and enforce where it can, but that, ultimately, the population will have to decide if it’s a problem.”Making the Call Above all else, safety and health are the top priorities among administrators and student groups alike. The thought is that it is better for a student to get help if necessary, than end up sick and alone like the girl sophomore Katie McCool found on that unfortunate Thursday night.“We don’t want people to feel like they shouldn’t call for help,” Carry said. “If the numbers need to continue to increase, let them increase, because we’re preventing something else much worse.”And for those non-drinkers, empowering them from a silent majority into a University norm is ultimately what the school hopes to achieve.“There are many ways to do USC,” Swinford said. “And intoxicated is only one of them.”Read more: The binge drinking culture starts and ends with uslast_img read more