Photo By: Skyler Gerald from Unsplash

It’s no secret that for university students, St. Patrick’s Day means partying. It also means that the annual “don’t put the bad in Badger” flyers and social media posts will be sent out any day now. 

Every year, the university encourages Brock students to be responsible community members, and every year students roll their eyes and continue to shotgun beers on somebody’s roof. 

It’s understandable that Brock wants to be a responsible member of the community by trying to keep the behaviour of their students under control, it’s also understandable that students might want to celebrate. After all, the annual St. Patrick’s Day street party is seen as a rite of passage to many. 

With COVID-19 restrictions being fully lifted for the first time in years, Brock has been preparing for the likely return of the annual unsanctioned street parties that many students attend. Brock staff have been going door-to-door in student neighbourhoods encouraging them to be safe and responsible this St. Patrick’s Day. 

It can feel like people are trying to put a damper on a good time, but students do have a responsibility to try and balance having fun and at the bare minimum, not breaking municipal bylaws. 

At the very least, Brock students ought to understand the consequences. Liquor laws in Ontario make it clear that public drinking and public intoxications are offences and they come along with a fine. Additionally, under the Criminal Code of Canada it’s also an offence to disturb the peace due to public intoxication. This means that it’s perfectly legal to consume alcohol within a private residence (including in the yard), but is not on public property (which includes streets and sidewalks). This also applies to Brock’s campus; having an open container of alcohol in your hand as you move from one place to the next could not only warrant disciplinary action from the university under the student code of conduct, but it could result in a fine as well. 

This is where Brock students who attend street parties will begin to run into trouble. With COVID-19 restrictions lifted, Ontarians are allowed to gather in homes to throw a party. Anyone who’s seen the pictures of the streets flooded with students decked out in green from years past knows that the annual St. Patrick’s Day parties are quite a lot bigger than a house party though. 

Additionally, in St. Catharines, the noise-by-law addresses issues of persistent noise within the community. Loud music and even shouting between the hours of 11 p.m. and 7 a.m. is considered a disturbance by the by-law and may carry a fine. 

If you’re going to go out this St. Patrick’s Day, that’s your business, and really, no one’s going to stop university students from going out and having fun. If you decide to skip the crowds this year, that’s also a totally reasonable decision. Brock is offering alternative events including a 19+ event at Isaac’s

Whatever you choose to do this St. Patrick’s Day, just don’t be an absolute menace. Throw out your garbage, know the law, and make sure you have a safe way to get home. It’s also probably a good idea to mask up if you’re planning on being around big groups of people. 

The vast majority of university students are adults, that means we get to make our own decisions, but we also have to deal with the consequences. This St. Patrick’s Day, just make sure you remember that.