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Last updateWed, 19 Feb 2020 2pm

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Drinking Awareness During Spirit Week

Drinking AwarenessStudent Government Association (SGA) and Greek Senate co-sponsored a Drinking and Driving Awareness event as part of spirit week to highlight the dangers of driving while intoxicated on Tuesday, Oct. 15. 

Mary Anne Nagy, Vice President for Student Life and Leadership Engagement, explained the overarching goal of the event is to help students be aware of drinking and driving, and the issue of buzzed driving.

“You may not be legally drunk, but the minute you put alcohol into your system, and you get behind the wheel of a car there is some basic impairment because alcohol is a drug,” Nagy said. 

The event included a “Drunk Goggles” walking obstacle course, a pledge to sign against driving while under the influence, raffles for Uber gift cards, and free candy with facts and statistics about drunk driving attached.

Drunk Goggles are a type of goggles that simulate the lack of alertness and reaction time that comes with being intoxicated, Demi Ardic, a sophomore sociology student and SGA member, explained.

“Even if you’re stone cold sober, the goggles will simulate you being impaired in some fashion,” Nagy said. 

“If someone can’t even walk while they’re drunk, they’re definitely not capable to drive,” Ardic said.

Drinking Awareness 2“I hope [students] became more aware of this after using the Drunk Goggles, especially since it’s not even as intense as the levels they could reach at homecoming," she continued.

Yazmin Belhadj, a senior political science student and SGA member, added, “It’s hard for [students] to walk through the path, it’s like driving. The Drunk Goggles show that no matter how much alcohol you have, even if it’s lower than .08 blood alcohol level, it still impairs your vision, judgment, motor and sensory skills.”

Students who completed the walking obstacle course were entered to win a $20 Uber gift card and were encouraged to use the gift card for themselves at homecoming or share with a friend, if won.

A consistent issue during homecoming is students safely returning to their residences afterwards, Belhadj said. The free Uber gift cards are meant to combat this issue, as well as five SGA sponsored taxis, free for student use before 4:30 p.m.

Nagy commented on the student initiative. “I think [administration] has done a good job, and I think our students are acutely aware of issues regarding drinking and driving… and are good about using a designated driver (DD), Uber or Lyft.” 

This past spring, Monmouth did a survey of students for the American College Health Association, and one of the questions was about drinking and driving. Nagy explained, “85 percent of Monmouth students who responded to the survey said they used a DD or driving service. That’s a number to be proud of. Of course we want it to be 100 percent, but it’s not insignificant.”

SGA and our Greeks have captured the message of the hero campaign and are internalizing it. “Greek life has made immense progress through new leadership and putting more resources there,” Nagy said. 

 Belhadj echoed Nagy’s sentiment. “We had a lot of members from the Greek community here, which was awesome. There’s a negative stigma with the Greek members that they just love to party and drink, but they make up a big percentage of this community, and it’s important that the community knows they won’t be drinking and driving either,” he said. 

Jesse Mingalone, a junior psychology student and member of Greek Senate, was satisfied with student interest over the event.

“So far, it’s a really good turnout,” Mingalone said. “We have a lot of signatures for the pledge so far, so it’s nice to see so many students are against being intoxicated while behind the wheel.”

“It looks like people are having fun right now, but I hope they’re actually considering how driving a car intoxicated could end their life or someone else’s life,” Ardic said. “I hope [this event] resonated with them in a serious manner but was also educational.”

PHOTOS TAKEN by Matthew Cutillo

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