Alcohol awareness steers students in right direction

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Business sophomore Caleb James maneuvers through a cone obstacle course hosted by “U in the Driver Seat” at the alcohol awareness event March 9 in the mall. The program teaches students the dangers of alcohol impaired driving. During the obstacle course, “drivers” wear goggles that simulate the vision of someone whose blood alcohol content is twice the legal limit. “Each cone represents a person or an animal,” said research associate Shannon Barkwell. The program is under Texas A&M Transportation Institute and is funded by Texas Department of Transportation. Photo by Michelle Delgado

Campus holds its sixth annual alcohol awareness fair for students before spring break.

By Solomon A. Wilson

Spring break is at the door, and every college kid is ready to open it.

Beaches and alcohol are often the two tools students choose for the ultimate break, but this college recently reminded them of the dangers of alcohol and steps to take to be safe.

This campus held its sixth annual alcohol awareness fair March 8 with two separate events.

Students flocked to gather free informational packets, pens and shirts, gaining valuable information from San Antonio Police Department officers.

“Spring break is coming up, and we are just trying to educate and inform students, maybe the ones experiencing their first spring break,” said SAPD officer Alfred Martinez.

“See what happens when you’re intoxicated, the alcohol affects your focus, attention and motor skills,” Martinez said.

Students were able to put on beer goggles that morphed their vision to a blurry reality to see how their motor skills were affected when their vision was impaired.

Business management freshman Luis Gonzalez stumbles while attempting to walk a straight line while wearing “drunk goggles” at the alcohol awareness event March 9 in the mall. The goggles simulate vision after having about three drinks, SAPD officer Joel Zulaica said. The alcohol awareness event featured many programs such as Bae-B-Safe and U in the Driver Seat. Photo by Michelle Delgado

Martinez has been an advocate for students’ alcohol safety and comes out every year to make students aware of how much they drink.

“When you drink and you drive, you end up with some serious consequences like an accident or death,” Martinez said.

A driving simulator was set up so students could see the dangers of driving while under the influence, and political science freshman Christian Padron met his match.

“I don’t drink, but it makes my point stronger why not to drink or do drugs. It gave me a perspective I wouldn’t have known,” Padron said as he looked at all the cones he had scattered from their original path. The cones were there to symbolize other cars or people in real life.

Students lined up to test their drunk driving skills, while others took to Candler Physical Education Center to get a motivational alcohol intervention at Stand Tall, Stay Safe.

In Gym 1, trained motivational interviewers were paired up with students to talk and see how alcohol affects their lives.

“We make sure what you’re doing does not impact your career goals,” said Curtis Hollar, one of the motivational interviewers.

Students who don’t drink were also there to gain knowledge, like business administrative freshman Angela Martinez who lost her best friend in a drinking and driving car accident.

“I’m not a heavy drinker, but I have friends who are, and I hope to gain some knowledge for them,” Martinez said as she waited in line with others.

Raffles, free shirts and food were handed out to students who completed the educational intervention that rated them through a survey. The survey let them know what percentile of young adults they fall into, showing them if how frequently they drink could be harmful for their future or body.

“It’s our first time doing the alcohol interventions, and we are hoping to bring in 200 students,” said Melissa Sutherland, student development professor.

A study conducted by the University of Maryland found that one in five college kids admit to drunk driving.

This college encourages students to be safe over spring break anytime alcohol is involved and to always remember to never drink and drive.


1 Comment

  1. Editor,
    Your article “Alcohol Awareness Steers Students In Right Direction” (March 10, 2017) truly captured my intention.
    It is very important to learn more about alcohol abuse.
    I don’t physically attend San Antonio College but I am amazed that there are events like the alcohol awareness fair that was held this past week.
    More colleges and high schools should hold events like this.
    Driving while intoxicated is one of the leading causes of death in the US and the majority of the deaths are under the age of 25.
    Since it is spring break, that means that there are many parties going on and where there are parties, there is alcohol, in most cases.
    It is important to have young minds informed so that they don’t end up doing something that may change their lives forever.

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