ACU takes the FebFast stand to fight substance abuse

Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Melbourne, 25 January 2008:  Australian Catholic University (ACU) staff has helped create a new fundraiser called FebFast, where participants pledge an alcohol-free February to support young people battling substance abuse.

“With so many celebrations during the summer, it is not uncommon for people to go overboard with their alcohol consumption,” said FebFast Director and Head of ACU’s School of Business and Informatics (Victoria) Marcia O’Neill.

FebFast CEO Fiona Healy says FebFast comes at a time when many people are feeling the impacts of excess and making resolutions to get fit, regain balance and develop healthier living practices.

“Summer is a great period of celebration, but all the activity can leave people feeling like they need a break,” she said. “FebFast is a chance to make a change for your health and make a difference in the lives of others.”

ACU Deputy Vice-Chancellor of Academic Affairs Professor Gabrielle McMullen said the FebFast pledge is a difficult but worthwhile challenge.  “Knowing that your contribution will help to improve the lives of young substance users adds extra motivation and keeps you focused on the goal of taking a break from alcohol,” she said.

Of the funds raised, 40% will benefit the Youth Substance Abuse Service of Victoria, 10% will be given to the Australian Drug Foundation for educational purposes and the remaining contributions will be distributed by the FebFast gift committee to the Australian alcohol and other drugs sector based on grant applications from individual organisations.

In addition to ACU, the Victorian Police have also pledged their support to FebFast, highlighting the involvement of alcohol in 62% of all police attendances, 73% of assaults, 77% of street offences, 40% of domestic violence incidents, and 90% of late night calls.

“FebFast offers the community an opportunity to take stock, think and reflect on their drinking behaviours, and use the experience to modify their consumption for the longer term,” said Victorian Police Deputy Commissioner Kieran Walshe.

FebFast offers participants the opportunity to purchase a Time Out Card that operates as a date stamped leave pass from FebFast to enjoy alcohol at special events such as birthdays, Valentine’s day and weddings. However, participants must resume their participation in FebFast the next day.

Registration details, personal blogs, online donations and further information are available through the FebFast website,

Australian Catholic University (ACU) – established as Australia’s only Catholic, national, publicly funded university – is open to all. The University empowers its students and staff with a strong sense of social responsibility and concern for the moral and ethical dimensions of their study and their professional and personal lives.