Alcohol Awareness Month

By Justin Long
Director of Housing and Residence Life at Florida SouthWestern State College.

Alcohol Awareness Month April is Alcohol Awareness Month, and it is important to take a step back to learn some important facts about the impacts of alcohol specifically with young adults (18-24 years of age).  This annual event “…was established in 1987 to help reduce the stigma so often associated with alcoholism by encouraging communities to reach out to the American public each April with information about alcohol, alcoholism and recovery.”

Though college students may feel invincible, drinking can be dangerous.
The National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism has provided an alarming set of annual statistics that paint the picture of just how much of an impact drinking has on college students, their families, and the college community as a whole.  Research shows that:
• 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, including motor vehicle crashes.
• Over 696,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are assaulted by someone who has been drinking.
• Over 97,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 report that they have experienced alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape.

USA Today highlighted five facts to keep in mind as we learn more about alcohol awareness this month.
1. “Binge Drinking” is less drinks than you’d guess – 4+ drinks for women during a single occasion and 5+ drinks for men during a single occasion
2. The legal American drinking age is 21
3. Drinking can be dangerous – check out the stats in this article
4. Signs of alcohol poisoning from the CDC: when you binge drink, your body can no longer process the alcohol, which leads to issues that can range from minimal impairment to coma/death
5. Drinking responsibly is actually pretty easy – enjoy everything in moderation
Programming is often provided for young adults on a college campus.
As higher education professionals in Housing and Residence Life at Florida SouthWestern State College, it is important for us to continuously develop and grow programming initiatives that will allow us to educate and provide awareness to our students about the effects of alcohol consumption on and off campus.  These programing efforts are always the most successful when we are able to feature other campus departments such as the Office of Public Safety and the Office of Student Life.

During one of our most effective educational programs, our residential students wore “beer goggles” to play water pong (the level of intoxication changed with each successful shot). This activity  provided a sense of impaired judgment as someone participates in rapid consumption alcohol related games.  We go beyond just the physical impacts when we use this type of program as we also educate students through alcohol related questions and facts with each successful shot.  During this process we would also provide alcohol related facts to the students based on which cup they scored in.

Another of our most wildly popular events is an improv show titled “Shot of Reality.” This annual show brings to campus a nationally recognized improv group for an hour long interactive show that hits on hard alcohol related topics such as  binge drinking, DUI’s, and sexual assault.

These activities are just two great examples of how college systems are looking to educate young adults on being smart if and when they choose to consume alcohol.

Make sure that you stop and check your habits when it comes to alcohol this month.  Now is as good of a time as any to determine if you need to scale back on your beverage intake. For more information on Alcohol Awareness, visit any of the source sites in this column, or speak with your doctor for other resources.

Important Dates at Florida SouthWestern State College

 FSW Open House
April 11-14, 2016
for more information

Priority Summer Application
April 15

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