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Organizations promote alcohol awareness

Amanda Michaels | Tuesday, March 16, 2004

In conjunction with the Office of Alcohol and Drug Education and PILLARS, the Office of the Student Body President is spearheading a campaign for responsible drinking just in time for St. Patrick’s Day.

Student body president Jeremy Lao said that the Alcohol Awareness Week effort came in response to concerns about alcohol abuse on campus expressed by the administration during the fall meeting of the Board of Trustees.

“This is the first time that student government has really made alcohol awareness a week-long campaign …We saw [the campaign] as an opportunity to build a stronger relationship with the administration and Board of Trustees while addressing a key issue on campus,” said Lao.

The campaign kicked off yesterday with a drunk driving simulator sponsored by PILLARS in the Sorin Room of LaFortune. The intent of the arcade-like game – which simulated a driver’s decreasing degrees of visibility and control as their blood alcohol level increases – was intended to show students how serious severe impairment can be said PILLARS publicity chairman Brian Thomas.

Speaker David Hellstrom will address “The Real Buzz About College Drinking” at Legends Tuesday at 7:30 p.m. The event is open to students of all ages, and will focus on binge drinking and alcohol education.

Hellstrom is affiliated with Campus-Speak, an organization concerned with provided issue-based speakers to universities, and has lectured at Notre Dame four to five times in the past, according to director of the Office of Alcohol and Drug Education Gina Firth

“It’ll be a really fun, interactive event,” said Thomas. “[Hellstrom’s message] is all part of a push by PILLARS to advocate responsible drinking, rather than our past message that all drinking is wrong.”

St. Patrick’s Day will be marked by the give-away of 750 T-shirts at the Fieldhouse Mall.

The back of the shirts will feature one of Indiana State Trooper Sergeant Tim McCarthy’s famous third-quarter adage’s discouraging drunk driving.

Coca-cola products and 1,000 cups printed with facts about alcohol abuse will be distributed on Thursday and Friday, respectively.

“Our campaign’s not to tell kids to abstain from drinking, just about responsibility while drinking, so we thought handing out facts about drinking and responsibility with Coke products was a good way to spread the word,” said Lao.

Though the Office of Alcohol and Drug Education served mainly in an advising capacity for the give-aways, they will be giving short presentations on calculating blood alcohol concentrations and will distribute free blood alcohol calculators calibrated to each individual’s weight. Over the span of a week, the group will visit every dorm, starting with Sorin, St. Edward’s and Lewis on Thursday night.