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For break, “Survivor Days” mean safety

Allen, Kevin | Wednesday, March 3, 2004

In an attempt to prevent health problems that result from stereotypical spring break activities like binge drinking and sleep deprivation, several University departments have collaborated to organize “Spring Break Survivor Days.” The event is sponsored by the Health Center, the University Counseling Center, the Office of Alcohol and Drug Education and RecSports.Since Monday, the lobby of the Health Center has housed information presented in the theme of the popular “Survivor” television show. Wall displays exhibit vignettes about healthy spring break activities that can help students be spring break “survivors,” as well as stories about unhealthy behavior that will get them “voted off the island.”As a component of the program, students can enter a raffle for prizes and will receive free gift bags with items, such as sunscreen, that can help them have a safe spring break. Handouts with information about body image, alcohol abuse, sexual assault, sunburn and driving fatigue will also be available. Free food and “mocktails” – non-alcoholic fruit drinks – have been available throughout the week and will be served until 9 p.m. tonight.According to Pat Brubaker, assistant director of Clinical Services, the need for such an informational program has been apparent for years at Health Services and the Counseling Center.”We found that when spring break was over, there was a huge increase in needs related to unhealthy behavior,” Brubaker said. “We decided to get into preventive medicine.”Brubaker said a census was taken to determine the most common student needs that arise as a result of spring break. The response is those issues currently targeted with the Survivor event.The pre-spring break health event debuted last year, and Helen Bowden of the Counseling Center said it resulted in a decrease in the number of students that returned from break with illnesses and other problems. “We want students to ‘survive’ spring break healthy and safe,” Brubaker said.