ANTIGONISH: The town is once again welcoming hundreds of new students excited to begin their first year at StFX University and forge new friendships during Orientation Week.

The NSLC wants to support those students in having a positive experience, so we have partnered with the university, which is working with local RCMP and the Town of Antigonish to safely welcome new and returning students to the community.

The NSLC cares about its customers and communities and wants to do whatever it can to help keep them safe. That’s the NSLC is conducting this test pilot to collaboratively promote its “Keep it Social” program, an initiative to help educate university students about the harms of high-risk drinking.

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The NSLC developed “Keep It Social” in partnership with most Nova Scotia universities to raise awareness and conversation about this important issue.

“’Keep It Social’ served as a catalyst on our campus in 2013 that began a deeper conversation amongst our students regarding alcohol consumption,” said Shannon Travers, manager of Student Life at StFX.

Rooted in reality, “Keep It Social” doesn’t vilify beverage alcohol or the students who choose to drink. Instead, it paints a clear picture of what social consumption in moderation looks like, reminding students that it’s always best to “Keep it Social.”

“We did our homework in developing this program, working closely with universities. It’s a success because it’s a peer to peer program. It’s crucial to have the support of university administrators but it’s the student organizations that implement the program and that’s why it’s working,” said Beth Martin, manager of Corporate Social Responsibility at the NSLC.

The town, RCMP and university will be monitoring celebrations both off and on-campus. NSLC employees will be diligently asking for ID’s in its store and St. FX student-led mocktail tastings will also be held. “Keep It Social” material will be posted throughout Orientation Week on campus and during the first home opener football game.

“This is a truly collaborative effort aimed at reducing high-risk drinking behaviours. To have such a diverse group of representatives from the community, policing, university and of course, our store, concentrate their efforts and work together is exciting,” Martin said.

Social responsibility surrounding alcohol truly is a community effort, agreed Travers, noting the university is committed to working with partners both on and off-campus for the safety and education of all StFX students.

She said students at StFX have built on the success of “Keep It Social” over the last few years, launching a student society called “Mix It Up” and hosting a substance awareness week.

For more information on Keep it Social, visit: keepitsocial.ca.

For over eighty years, the NSLC has been managing the safe and responsible sale of beverage alcohol in Nova Scotia, returning 100 per cent of its profits to government to help fund key public services. As a true partner in local communities, the NSLC conducts its business with integrity and respect for the environment, while supporting the sale of more than $190 million in locally-produced products every year. For more information about the NSLC, please visit its Web site at: myNSLC.com.