Dangers of alcohol explained

The directors of Alcohol Awareness Week, held at St. John’s during the week of Oct. 17, have become more creative with their approach.

“Students for the Bacchus peer educators here at St. John’s [wore] black t-shirts stating the statistic ‘1,700 students die each year due to alcohol related injury,'” stated Deborah Levi, assistant director for Wellness, Alcohol and Other Drug Education. “That program provoked some questions and conversations.”

Other events included a viewing of the documentary “Rize,” which showcases a dance craze experienced by youths in South Central Los Angeles.

“It (the form of dancing) came as a way to alternatively use your energy as a way [to avoid] drugs and alcohol,” Levi said.

There was also a forum where students discussed topics ranging from alcohol policies in the U.S. as opposed to other countries and students’ perceptions of alcohol use on campus. There was also an “all nighter” event in an attempt to give students the opportunity to have an alternative to drinking alcohol during the weekend.

This summer the issue of alcohol awareness hit home for the St. John’s community when a student was killed in a drunk driving accident. The student passenger, along with another passenger and the driver, was intoxicated according to the San Diego City News Service, Inc.

The accident occurred when, “the car jumped the curb and plowed into an overpass support structure,” according to the City News Service.

In response to learning of the accident Levi stated: “It’s just a way [for the University community to realize] that we here at St. John’s aren’t in a bubble as to what happens when alcohol is in the mix.”

“Tragedy does happen and it just highlights again the purpose of this office to just educate people,” she added, regarding the tragedy.

Overall, St. John’s has a lower level of alcohol consumption than the national average. According to Levi, in a survey done in the spring of 2005, compared to national statistics, St. John’s University is lower in the amount of drinks students have per week. St. John’s students consume an average of 5.6 drinks per week as compared to the national average of 6.1.

The level of binge drinking, which can be defined as a man consuming five or more alcoholic beverages on one occasion and a woman consuming four or more in one occasion, was also lower than the national average. It was reported that 41.2 percent of St. John’s students reported binge drinking as opposed to the national average of 48.5 percent.

Bacchus Peer educators deliver workshops in order to aid the process of alcohol awareness. The workshops are usually delivered to Discover New York classes, RA programs, athletes, and dorm students. The workshop activities include alcohol jeopardy and delivering the facts about certain stages of intoxication.

“Their (Bacchus peer educators) message is not to preach but to engage in conversations and talk about topics that really, in essence, students deal with everyday,” Levi said. “Not a lot of people talk about [these topics] in bigger forums or through an educational perspective.”