Unofficial: fun for us, frightening for animals

By Da Yeon Eom

The holiday of Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day mainly serves the purpose of providing an opportunity for stressed students to have fun drinking as they sport that signature green color.

While having fun at parties isn’t necessarily harmful, the event shouldn’t create damages that harm the college’s image and provide reasons for students to get injured.

Most notably, pet owners have complained around campus about their pets being exposed to the dangerous, inconsiderate behaviors of their peers.

In the midst of intoxication and loosened morals, students may drop their handles of alcohol from a third floor or casually leave their drinks somewhere on the street if they don’t wish to carry them with them.

If street workers are unavailable to attend to the mess that students created, pets that go on walks the next morning with their owners can cut their paws on one of the shards and easily get infected.

Imagine the grief of a pet owner who unknowingly steps into a field of glass shards while walking with a companion animal. Not only would the animal suffer physical pain but the owner would be frustrated by their peers’ reckless behavior and concerned about their pet’s well being. It seems hardly reasonable that a joyful holiday such as Unofficial should cause stress for those who are left with the aftermath of it.

“A lot of (students) have pets, or had them in the past, and they should know better to take care of the campus,” said Ashley O’Connellss, a senior in ACES. “Pets can get hurt from a piece of glass, get infections and maybe even get their owners infected. So think about who can get hurt or be impacted by the action before throwing a bottle on the streets.”

There are students on the campus who are in need of help from their service dogs, who guide owners and warn them of danger. If they are injured, it prevents them from performing required tasks and owners are left vulnerable. Before leaving bottles on the edge of a balcony because it was inconvenient to find a trash bin, consider the potential danger of those at risk without their companion.

According to Disability Resources and Educational Services, if the service dogs fall ill it becomes the handler’s responsibility to treat them. The liability of the actions of their drunk peers fall on those who are needed the most to provide help. The financial loss of taking the service dog to the vet, the emotional distress and the absence of assistance are among many woes that can come from the careless decision to not clean up after drinking.

http://disability.illinois.edu/applying-services/service-animals-campusThe University is considered one of the nation’s best, and our graduates are known for achieving success after finishing the rigorous curriculum.

If not recognizable for the academics, though, the school is also famous for being the number one party school. Unofficial is unequivocally a huge contribution to that fame, and it is a noteworthy tradition. Despite the publicity the holiday brings, the reputation of the campus cannot be dignified if the result of our party scene causes pain for some members of the community.

“I don’t think many people have thought about how pets can get hurt by drinking and not taking care of the littering afterwards,” said Melina Saenz, a freshman in ACES. “It’s unfortunate that such problems exist on the campus.”

This issue may seem trivial, since everyone on the campus who participated in the festivities may be too hungover to pay attention to their faults from the night before. However, the problem is as apparent as the pieces of liquor bottles in the grass shimmering in preparation for the next accident.

Whether the campus is painted in orange and blue or waves of green, the University must remain safe and accommodating for all members of the community. Being the number one party school should concern not only the quality of parties being thrown, but also the amount of attention paid to restore the state of environment afterwards.

The best solution to prevent any regretful incidents from happening is simply thinking of those affected by drunken mischief and handling trash appropriately.

Da Yeon is a sophomore in ACES.

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