According to the American Council on Education, over 800 college campuses across the nation will be promoting National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week (NCAAW). This is all about the NCAAW theme, “Raise your voice! You can save a life!” NCAAW is about promoting responsible decision making involving alcohol consumption. The organizers hope for campuses to endorse tips about avoiding excessive drinking, drinking and driving and avoiding riding in a car with a drunk driver. Elizabethtown College will be participating during the week of Nov. 14 through Nov. 18.
Junior Jenny Malik is a co-coordinator of Students Promoting Awareness and Responsible Choices, or SPARC, a student group that is helping to organize the events of NCAAW on Etown’s campus. Helping out Malik with one of the biggest events SPARC hosts is junior Hannah Reagan, the other co-coordinator of SPARC. Together, they are hoping that the message of NCAAW reaches as many students as possible.
Malik stated, “There needs to be awareness of responsible drinking. I think that students don’t realize they can still go out and not drink but still have fun.” She is hopeful that students realize that the goal of this week is responsible drinking. “We are not trying to preach no drinking, and I think that is a misperception people have of NCAAW,” Malik said.
The biggest event that SPARC will be holding during the week of alcohol awareness is trivia night. Malik reported over fifty people attended last year’s Trivia Night and she is hopeful for more this year. Questions will contain alcohol-related trivia as well as general trivia to keep everyone interested. The alcohol-related trivia will include statistics on general alcohol drinking habits, as well as those of college alcohol statistics. To add to the fun, mocktails will be served during trivia, including “Safe Sex on the Beach.” Whoever gets the most trivia questions correct will win a gift card to the Jay’s Nest or to the school bookstore. Trivia night will be taking place in the Blue Bean on Friday, Nov. 18 at 9 p.m.
“People need to realize that consequences come with drinking. I think that this week is a great way to open students’ eyes to these consequences,” sophomore Kimmy Barone said. The College allows some alcohol on campus for students who are of legal age. “It is so easy to find somewhere to get alcohol or to find a party, this is college. I think it is easier to find something to do that doesn’t involve drinking or going out to a party,” Malik explained.
She continued by pointing out that the campus is always full of activities that involve alcohol-free fun. The Office of Student Activities (OSA) sends out a calendar every month filled with happenings in which students can partake in, clubs hold events and there are local places to visit for fun, Malik noted.
In further support of this week, SPARC will be having a trivia wheel and Jeopardy! at a table in the Baugher Student Center (BSC). SPARC hopes that this table will not be one that students choose to ignore, instead that they will take interest in it. All questions will be related to alcohol in further efforts to spread awareness. Students who stop by the table and take a chance at a question will get a Pullayouee shirt from SPARC. The goal is that students walk away thinking about the consequences of irresponsible drinking, while also talking to their friends about what they learned.
Get ABSURD, a club based around responsible drinking and decision making, has been struggling to maintain members. Senior and current president of Get ABSURD Tess Lutz stated, “No one wants to hear about responsible drinking. I am hopeful that this week will influence students to care about responsible drinking.”
She is worried that not enough students are aware of the dangers of drinking and having optional programs on campus is not proactive enough to spread awareness. Get ABSURD wishes they could do more, but are lacking the means to truly make an impact desired during NCAAW. Lutz said, “It is sad we only have a week dedicated to this subject. Look at how many people drink to the point of alcohol poisoning, people don’t know when to stop.” Lutz is fearful that the people who will be impacted by NCAAW will be those who do not need to be impacted.
Malik is hoping to change the views of just a few students; in her opinion that would make the week worth it. “Most problems on this campus seem to stem from drinking. We have to attack problems from all angles, with alcohol being one of them,” Malik said. SPARC is hopeful that all students will try their best to get involved in events occurring during the week. To find out more about NCAAW and SPARC, contact SPARC@etown.edu.