Alcohol Awareness Week offers students important messages
Education equals prevention
By Jeff Green
Students at Memorial University will get a chance to strap on a special pair of goggles later this month to get a simulated effect of the dangers of too much drinking. The event is part of a series of activities happening from Nov. 15-18 during Alcohol Awareness Week on the St. John’s campus.
Organizers will use the event to raise awareness about alcohol usage while offering messages on how to drink responsibly. Students will also learn about the risks involved with binge drinking.
“We want to share information with students about alcohol and to dispel some myths about alcohol usage in general,” said Dr. Janet Krantz, an assistant professor with the University Counselling Centre, one of the key organizers of the event. “At one session students will wear these goggles and have to push a wheelchair-type device to get the full effect of what it is like to have consumed too much alcohol. This will be a safe environment with an important message.”
The University Counselling Centre has partnered with a number of other groups to help organize this year’s event. Student Wellness, Housing and Student Health Services are also involved.
Dr. Krantz said there are still a number of students on campus who don’t know the facts about responsible drinking. For instance, she said, many students feel blacking out while drinking is a common occurrence and no need for concern. She said they are misinformed about alcohol poisoning and the lifelong consequences connected with it.
Dr. Krantz admitted it is sometimes hard to get their message across to students when various St. John’s-based bars, including the university’s Breezeway, advertise cheap drink prices and specials around campus. She said this type of marketing can sometimes lead to binge drinking. That’s why this year the university has recruited the help of beer producer Molson to help sponsor their event. The company has an investment in promoting responsible drinking among university students.
“In fact, there is a campus-wide effort to monitor the posting of such posters and faculty and staff are encouraged to remove such material from display when they encounter it around campus,” said Dr. Krantz. “Bar owners are also contacted about the illegal activity of posting such notices on university property.”
In the meantime, Dr. Krantz said the entire university community should promote responsible drinking since alcohol is the number one drug used among young people and most accidents involving young people involve alcohol.
During Alcohol Awareness Week the following educational sessions take
• Nov. 15 from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. in the Counselling Centre, 5th floor, University Centre.
• Nov. 15 from 4:30 - 7:30 p.m. in the Junior Common Room of R. Gushue Dining Hall.
• Nov. 16 from 12 - 3 p.m. in the Student Services Café in the University Centre
• Nov. 18 from 12:30 - 3:30 p.m. in the Student Health Centre, 4th floor, University Centre.
Students can drop by, ask questions and talk to a professional. There will be free gifts and chances to win $50 gift certificates to the MUN Bookstore.