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SU’s Florence Center initiates new ‘Smart Bar’ program to promote safe behavior and reduce overdrinking
SU’s Florence Center initiates new ‘Smart Bar’ program to promote safe behavior and reduce overdrinkingApril 24, 2006Sara Millersemortim@syr.edu
Mix culture shock, plentiful special drink offers and exciting international destinations, and you’re likely to find a certain number of college students making potentially unsafe decisions. SU’s Division of International Programs Abroad (DIPA) in Florence has taken new steps to promote safer student behavior.
For more than a year, administrators at Syracuse University Florence (SUF) have worked to implement the new “Smart Bar” program, which was officially launched at a press conference this April in Florence.
The “Smart Bar” initiative enlists a partner approach by encouraging the local Italian community to help inform and protect students. An SUF committee was formed with the goal to persuade popular student entertainment spots (discos, clubs and bars) to sign an agreement that involves various aspects of safe drinking and behavior. Primary among these are:
- to not offer the prevalent special offers (e.g. five shots for five Euros or “Free Ladies Night” — where women drink for free, etc. )
- to not serve students who they deem have already had too much
- to call cabs for those who have had too much (or if medical attention is needed)
- to do a better job of screening “malaviti” (bad guys) who often frequent these places looking to take advantage of drunk students
A “Smart Bar” logo was developed for display by local participating establishments to indicate their adherence to this protocol. A list of “Smart Bars” will also be published on the SUF Web site and provided to new students at orientation.
“Nearly all our problems here at SUF, as with all the overseas programs here in Florence, occur after students have drunk too much,” says James Kauffman, assistant director of student services at SUF. “As part of our ongoing education, we bring in local policemen to speak to the students very directly about this program. We believe that the Smart Bar initiative will complement and strengthen our existing efforts.”
The “Smart Bar” program will not only benefit students studying abroad through SU’s DIPA program, but also students studying in Florence through other programs and universities.
For more than 45 years, SU’s Division of International Programs Abroad has offered credit-bearing study opportunities for SU students as well as those enrolled at other colleges and universities across the United States and Canada. The Florence program, established in 1959, enrolls more than 600 students each academic year. Many students live with local families and visit historic sites in Rome, Venice, Assisi and other destinations.