Week dedicated to alcohol education

By Chrstina Prignano

The library quad was filled yesterday with students and volunteers milling around tables dispensing information and games as part of Alcohol Awareness Week.

In a “Scared Straight” demonstration, students roamed the quad in black clothing meant to represent young people killed by alcohol-related incidents.

Each student in black, all members of the Resident Student Association (RSA), carried a story that explained the details of a person’s death.

Katherine Palermino, a junior music industry major, was among those dressed in black for the demonstration.

“I think it’s a good cause; people should be aware of the effects of alcohol,” Palermino said.

The tables were set up as part of a fair to promote activities for the week and educate students about the effects of alcohol on individuals and society.

Chet Bowen, director of alcohol and other drug education and head of the advisory board that organized Alcohol Awareness Week, was helping out at the fair and answering student questions.

“This event is all about becoming aware and having fun while you do it,” Bowen said.

Among the tables was a large board where students could write their stories about how alcohol has affected their lives. The posts were done by both drinkers and non-drinkers, and ranged from stories about a particular drunken night to memorials about family members lost to alcohol-related incidents.

“I’m surprised at how much stuff there is; I thought there’d only be a few tables,” Palermino said. “I think it will affect people.”

Yesterday’s events were meant to preview what’s coming up for the remainder of Alcohol Awareness Week, which will feature a series of events coordinated by organizations and departments from across the university.

Wednesday starts off with an Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meeting at noon in the Sacred Space, where members of AA will speak about their experiences.

“These people are very courageous” for bringing their stories to students,” Bowen said.

Although students will be able to share their stories, Bowen said it’s important for students to know they will not be required to speak.

Shelli Jankowski-Smith, director of spiritual life, said she hopes it will help students “find out what it’s like to be in the shoes of a recovering alcoholic.”

Other events on Wednesday include a barbeque on Centennial Commons during activities period. Former Red Sox pitcher Dennis Eckersley will speak about his issues with addiction at Blackman Auditorium at 7 p.m Wednesday night.

Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority will kick off their annual “Teeter-Totter-A-Thon” in the Krentzman Quad on Thursday. Girls from the sorority will see-saw for 48 hours to raise money to benefit hospitals that care for children of alcoholics, said Sigma Sigma Sigma President Kelli Morse.

A wine-tasting for of-age students will also be held Thursday in the Curry Student Center Ballroom at 9 p.m. Students must bring a valid Husky Card as well as state-issued ID for proof of age. This event is aimed at showing students they can have a couple of drinks without getting drunk, Bowen said. The event is first-come, first-served.

That evening, Jim Matthews will be speaking in the West Addition of the Curry Student Center at 7 p.m., and afterHOURS will hold an awareness concert featuring the bands Logan and Tea Leaf Green at 8 p.m.

Another AA meeting will take place Friday in the Sacred Space at noon with a format identical to that of Wednesday’s meeting.

The week will conclude with a date auction Friday night at afterHOURS to raise money for an inpatient/outpatient clinic for people with substance abuse problems.

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