Alcohol Awareness Week teaches students alcohol safety


Alcohol safety is a concern on college campuses across the country. In one of the many measures that High Point University takes to educate its students on alcohol safety, Alcohol Awareness Week will be held during the week of Nov. 14-18.

HPU holds six national weeks per year, each of which focuses on different issues. Suicide Prevention Week and Fire Safety Week were already held earlier in the semester, and Alcohol Awareness Week will be the final national week of the year.

The Alcohol Awareness committee is made up of resident directors Austin Laforest, Carl Leist, Nicole Garafola and Brenna Turer in the Office of Student Life who have all been working to make this week, along with the five other national weeks, possible.

“They’re incredible opportunities to create events in a short period of time to educate our students,” Laforest said.

Each week is organized by the Office of Student Life and then paired with a student organization that helps curate and organize the events. Zeta Tau Alpha sorority is paired with Alcohol Awareness Week and will have members helping to organize and run many of the events.

The events started on Monday with an activity in the R. G. Wanek Center in which students were given a pitcher of water and asked to pour what they think would be the equivalent of a shot of alcohol. The goal behind this was to see if the amount they poured was in fact a single shot so that they know exactly how much alcohol makes up one serving.

A table was also set up in the R. G. Wanek Center on Monday with information on the true cost of getting a DUI. The event focused on not just the fines that come with a DUI, but also the long-term effects it can have on a person’s job, family and other aspects of their life.

“It’s [about] understanding that your actions now can have an impact on your future,” Laforest said.

On Tuesday, a driving simulator was on campus that allowed students to experience what it truly feels like to drive under the influence. This virtual reality simulator was intended to show students the dangers of drunk driving by letting them experience it in a safe environment.

Today’s event is a speech from Bonny Shade, the selected keynote speaker for the week. Shade is a Zeta Tau Alpha alumna who has worked with HPU students in the past on alcohol safety workshops and programs.

“The difference between her presentations and other presentations I have experienced is that she does not lecture college students on drinking,” said Caylee Henderson, Zeta Tau Alpha president. “Alcohol is, unfortunately, a given when it comes to the culture of college students, so instead of harping on them to not participate in it at all, she accepts that this is prevalent on college campuses and wants to lower the risk associated with these behaviors.”

One of the biggest goals of this week is to make sure that students are being safe and responsible if they do choose to drink. The key to this week is to demonstrate the consequences of alcohol poisoning, drunk driving and other alcohol related risks so that students will be able to make better decisions in the future.

“The more education around these [topics], the better,” said Garafola. “The more education, the less horrible outcomes.”

Another objective for this week is making sure students understand how their own actions impact others. As Leist pointed out, “Getting in accidents can affect people you’ve never met before.”

Additionally, it’s also important for students who do not choose to drink to learn about these consequences as well in order to protect those around them who do.

“Just because you don’t drink doesn’t mean the people around you don’t,” Garafola said. “And that doesn’t mean you can’t help someone else.”

Knowing what to look for is crucial in order to take action when another student needs help. Turer said, “To be able to help your friends and to be able to be a proactive bystander is really important.”

Giving students all the necessary information will ultimately help them to drink responsibly and protect those around them.

“Unfortunately, drinking is a large part of college culture and it can have detrimental effects if students are unaware how to engage in these behaviors safely,” said Henderson. “I truly hope that students walk away from this week feeling more educated about how to lower their risk when it comes to drinking.”

Campus Chronicle
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