Students gain awareness about alcohol abuse

J’Mari HughesReporter

On Monday, Feb. 11, from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. students of North Campus Residence Complex hosted a table for students to turn to when in need of alcohol abuse help.

“It’s more or less to raise awareness on campus for anyone who’s not sure if there’s anything out there for them,” said Tyler Pelletier, a junior and one of the students hosting the table.

Pelletier and graduate student Katelyn Wentz gave away candy and SCSU Collegiate Recovery cups to those who stopped by their table to learn about resources on campus such as SMART recovery meetings, which Pelletier said is a non-12 step motivational speaking program and Alcohol Anonymous meetings, which take place on Tuesdays.

“For someone who maybe isn’t gonna search for the resources, we want them to be able to know that they’re at least here,” Pelletier said. “We let them know we usually have at least one or two programs going on a semester.”

Wentz, speech pathology major and North Campus resident advisor said knowledge of these support systems help her in her role of assisting dorm students.

“Being an RA, I think it’s really beneficial to know about all the resources on campus just because you never really know what your resident is gonna need,” she said. “You’re never gonna know who your resident really is or what they’ve been through and if they can benefit from something like this, then I love to bring it to attention and really help them through it.”

Pelletier said that he and Wentz, along with Sarah Keiser of the Alcohol and Drug Services, aimed for exposure when they set up their table so they could be able to reach out to students in need. They have been spreading the word for only a year or two, Pelletier said, and as other collegiate outbreak committees told them, it all starts with getting themselves out there.

“I feel like everybody has an uncle, cousin, family member or someone close to them that this has affected,” said Pelletier. “There’s a lot of big issues today as far as the opioid epidemic and over-prescriptions, so this is a pretty relevant subject.”

Halley Shambra, a junior and North Complex resident said she was just returning from class when the booth caught her attention and she wanted to see what it was about. “I think it’s amazing,” she said, “knowing that there’s a resource like this for kids my age.”

Shambra, a special education major, said she has witnessed alcoholism in her family and because college students are an the age where they can be exposed to alcohol, she thinks it is reassuring for Southern to have programs for them to turn to.

“I didn’t realize Southern had AA meetings and I think that’s great for students to have this type of resource and ability to live in this community that is supportive of them,” she said.

Wentz said it is important for students to ask for help when they need it and to be aware of what is happening on campus.

Pelletier said contrary to popular belief, anybody can be affected by alcohol abuse, not just adults. On Feb. 26, he said Southern will be showing a documentary, Generation Found, and hosting a panel where he, and those from local treatment centers and organization starters will discuss alcohol help.

“There is always hope,” he said, “no matter what.”

Photo Credit: William Aliou


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