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Student groups come together to increase alcohol awareness at MU

Tuesday, October 2, 2012 | 5:49 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA —Free pizza and T-shirts lured in students to the Alcohol Responsibility Month (ARM) Resource Fair Tuesday morning in Memorial Student Union. 

This year marks the 30th anniversary of Alcohol Responsibility Month, which is sponsored by MU's Wellness Resource Center. The resource fair was the first of several events this month. 

Some of the groups with informational booths at the fair were campus organizations such as Greeks Advocating the Mature Management of Alcohol (GAMMA), which was also responsible for organizing and staffing the event, the Relationship and Sexual Violence Prevention Center, MU Police Department, Alcoholics Anonymous and the statewide CHEERS program. 

"The purpose of the resource fair is to get students to make better choices especially in regards to alcohol," said Wellness Resource Center director Kim Dude. 

Dude said she believes students have the biggest influence when intervening in situations that are potentially dangerous to their peers.

According to the MU Department of Residential Life director Frankie Minor, increased independence can lead to student adjustment issues and experimentation with alcohol. Even so, he explained that college isn't always the first place that young adults encounter these temptations. 

“A lot of students have their drinking habits established before college,” Minor said.

Dude said that students are often under the illusion that nothing bad will happen to them, despite risky behavior.

"A big reason for students getting into trouble with alcohol is them feeling invincible," Dude said. Moderation is encouraged by programs on campus that teach students how to be responsible regarding alcohol.

One method taught by the Wellness Resource Center is called the "circle of six." This is a theory that when students go out to a social gathering where alcohol is involved, one out of every six friends should be sober. This person would serve as more than a designated driver, but also a "designated friend."

Minor said he thinks students look out for each other more than they might be given credit for.

"There’s often this fear that students won’t help peers," Minor said, "We find it’s not really true. There's no evidence that I'm aware of that students aren’t reporting situations from fear of getting in trouble."

If students are caught violating the alcohol policy in the residence halls, they go to a Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students workshop. The workshop is peer based, and discussions revolve around how to make smart decisions with alcohol.

Alcohol awareness is addressed using programs through the Wellness Resource Center such as GAMMA and"Life is Not a Spectator Sport," which is a bystander intervention program.

"We take the issue of the potential for alcohol poisoning very seriously," Dude said. For her, the focus isn't just on dealing with alcohol poisoning; the focus is to keep students from getting to that point in the first place.

Focus on responsible alcohol use will be emphasized during Alcohol Responsibility Month. A variety of activities will be offered.

The activities for Alcohol Responsibility Month include:

  • 12 Hour "Tigers Assemble" Walk: noon - midnight Friday at Stankowski Field
  • ARM Keynote Speaker Erica Upshaw "Keeping Friendship Alive": 8 p.m. Monday, Oct. 15 in Jesse Hall
  • Legal Issues "Justice Panel": 3 p.m. - 4 p.m. Thursday, October 18 in Jesse Wrench Auditorium
  • Hydration Station: 11 p.m. - 1 a.m. Thursday, October 25 in downtown Columbia
  • Alcohol Screening "Tigers First Class": 9 a.m. - 4 p.m. Tuesday, October 30, in the MU Student Recreation Complex
  • ARM Lunchbag "Ordinary to Extraordinary": noon - 1 p.m. Wednesday, October 31 in Memorial Student Union S203

Supervising editor Emilie Stigliani.


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