Alcohol use a serious matter

Alcohol consumption has long been a reality in the lives of college students. According to the U.S. Department of Human Services, college students spend about $5.5 billion on alcohol each year. When carried out irresponsibly, alcohol consumption can have dire consequences.

R.E.L.A.X. (Raising Expectations Launching the Achievement of Excellence) was created by the Office of Student Life’s Alcohol Education Program. Its mission is to encourage students to deal with peer pressure and responsibility when drinking. The organization is a spin-off of Bacchus and Gamma, a national peer education group that also coordinates chapters in other universities.

“We really encourage people to drink responsibly, rather than telling someone not to drink,” said Carolyn Nestor, co-president of R.E.L.A.X., noting that the organization is “formed by college students to help college students. We try to gear everything we do in terms of college students and their experiences.”

The organization’s programs aim to convey that message. Information sessions are held throughout the semester along with events and opportunities to interact with the St John’s community. “We have Fatal Vision Goggles, through which a student can experience first-hand the effects of binge drinking, as well as motivational speakers from time to time,” said Nestor.

So far, the message is getting across. “We had Don Parker come and perform magic tricks. He also told the audience about how he dealt with drugs and alcohol and the audience just loved it. We had a line come up to him at the end, of people who wanted to thank him. It was really cool,” Nestor said.

Students see R.E.L.A.X. as a positive presence in the university. “Anything that makes people realize what terrible things can do to the human body and to the family, in general, is a positive” said sophomore Adam Meltzer.

R.E.L.A.X. can be reached via email at [email protected]. R.E.L.A.X.’s adviser, Natalie Maio, can be reached at ext.2103.