Today: Jun 16, 2024

DARC hosting April Alcohol Awareness events on campus

RYAN FLYNNGeneral Assignment Reporter
April is National Alcohol Awareness Month, and the Drug and Alcohol Resource Center here at Southern is doing their part to help the cause. DARC has arranged several events throughout the month to help raise awareness and connect with the student body.
DARC is an “education, prevention and intervention office for students on campus,” according to DARC Coordinator, Sarah Michaud. Their office and resource center is located in the Schwartz Hall basement, room 100.
“A good portion of our mission is education programming and awareness on drug and alcohol topics. We also see students for brief intervention counseling,” Michaud said. She also noted that they have a large resource center available to all students.
DARC’s Alcohol Awareness Month effort started April 4, when they once again offered yearly alcohol screening to students. These free, confidential screenings consisted of a survey asking the students questions regarding their alcohol use and family history. This data was then used to give each student an idea as to where they would fall in terms of future risk with alcohol problems.
“It’s an opportunity to talk to students about their own use,” Michaud said. “It’s a pretty great thing because every year that we do this, the students are extremely honest.”
These surveys are anonymous. Following the screening, students have an opportunity to speak with a DARC member like Michaud and go over their results.
“We meet with the student, go over the screen and then provide them with resources and information,” Michaud said. “It’s just a good opportunity to talk with students about what their thoughts are. We usually reach a lot of students every year that we do it.”
Michaud mentioned that this is not an anti-alcohol effort or an attempt to scold students for drinking, but rather an opportunity to have a conversation about their alcohol use, along with pointing the high-risk students in the direction of helpful resources.
Throughout April, DARC will host an assortment of educational programs and tables throughout campus and the residence halls. These include an Alcohol Awareness Table on Monday, April 16 and free cardio kickboxing as well as Zumba on Wednesday, April 18.
One day later, on April 19, DARC will host DOPE Day. This yearly event is usually held in the fall but was moved to April to be a part of National Alcohol Awareness Month. The DOPE Day table focuses on providing information regarding marijuana use in coordination with both alcohol and tobacco use.
DARC’s month-long effort culminates with their largest event: the Alcohol Awareness Carnival. Held annually dating back to 2007, the carnival will be set up outside of Earl Hall behind the student center on May 3. DARC will work in coordination with both university and state police to stage this unique event.
“It’s kind of basically a fun day outside,” Michaud said. “We always call it a carnival because we do fried dough and food. It’s kind of a fun educational program for alcohol.”
Michaud mentioned that they will have blood alcohol goggles on hand and that campus police will use these goggles and golf carts to simulate drunk driving.
Along with this, DARC will have some tables at the carnival focusing mostly on the top ten myths of alcohol. A selection of other educational and interactive activities will be offered as well.

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