Belfast Telegraph

New Respect campaign offers students a way to ‘get off to a good start’

by Chris McCann

A campaign aimed at fostering good relations between students and residents of south Belfast’s university area was launched this week.

The ‘Respect’ campaign, led by Belfast City Council as part of an inter-agency group, is urging students to “get off to a good start” with their studies, as the city prepares to welcome hundreds of students beginning a new term.

South Belfast’s Holyland district, one the the city’s main student areas, has seen tensions between long-term residents and students in recent years as the area becomes a party area during the university year.

With university and college freshers’ weeks fast approaching, the campaign is encouraging students arriving in the city, as well as those returning, to be mindful of their behaviour, and to show consideration for their neighbours and each other.

The campaign will also seek to remind students of the consequences of any inappropriate behaviour and the long-term impact it could have on their future.

The council is backing the campaign along with a number of other agencies, including the universities and colleges, students’ unions and the PSNI.

Around 7,000 student households in the south Belfast area will be receiving a welcome pack which will provide essential information about living in the city.

The campaign, which will include radio and poster advertising across the city, is being supported by the universities’ and college students’ unions.

Adrian Kelly, president of the University of Ulster Students’ Union, said: “This campaign is about welcoming both new and returning students into the area and for many, it will be their first time living away from home. It’s important to explain to students that they need to show respect and ownership for their new home and the surrounding area. This in turn will hopefully allow |for the fostering of better community |relations and a better living environment for all.”

The PSNI’s area commander for south Belfast, chief insp Trevor O’Neill, said that one aspect of getting off to a good start for students was to avoid trouble, and to look after themselves and each other.

“I would also encourage everyone not to walk around on your own very late at night. Stick with groups of friends, and have transport organised for your journey home at the end of the night. Respect yourself and your friends, and make sure you look out for each other.”

For more information on the campaign visit www.belfastcity.gov.uk/respect

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