Please look after this snowflake… freshers given tags to get home
FOR thousands of students around the country arriving for their first taste of university life, freshers’ week is a time of experimentation out of sight of their parents.
But today’s generation of “snowflake” students seem not to be trusted to avoid the pitfalls and take themselves home safely at the end of a night on the town.
One student housing company is handing out Paddington Bear-style wristbands printed with their address and emergency contact details.
Campus Living Villages is giving the brightly-coloured safety wristbands to 13,000 first-year students this month, including undergraduates from the Universities of Birmingham, Exeter, Manchester, Leeds, and Liverpool.
The scheme has been labelled patronising by leading academics amid fears they could encourage bingedrinking by lulling students into a false sense of security.
Frank Furedi, an emeritus professor of sociology at the University of Kent, said that the wristbands “infantilise” students.
“It’s a bit like putting collars on dogs or cats,” he told The Sunday Telegraph. “It’s perfectly all right for five or sixyear-olds, but when you treat young men and women like that you’re assuming they are children who need to be subjected to this intense level of paternalism.”
“There’s this assumption [at university] that if you get drunk, that’s an irredeemable problem and you’re going to be damaged for life. It’s a normal part of growing up – they should really just chill out and leave students to get on with stuff.”
Sir Anthony Seldon, vice-chancellor of the University of Buckingham, also criticised the wristbands, adding that too many students arrive at university unable to deal with the challenges of adulthood.
Sir Anthony, the former headmaster of Wellington College, said: “I think schools could do much more to prepare people. It is the biggest transition students will have in their lives.
“Suddenly students find themselves at university without anybody telling
‘It’s a bit like putting collars on dogs or cats. When you treat them like that you’re assuming they are children’
them when to go to bed, what to eat, when to exercise, how to look after themselves, what to do, what not to do. And it’s a very, very difficult transition.”
“Freshers’ weeks are often wonderful for students, but becoming so drunk that you need a wristband to help you isn’t going to result in everyone having a good time.”
Richard Gabelich, CEO of Campus Living Villages, which owns 15 student housing sites across the country, said the company hopes to ensure that students are living “safely and responsibly”.
“It’s important to us to do whatever we can to further ensure the safety and well-being of our residents,” he said.
He added that the company has had an “extremely positive response” to the wristbands from students.