By Kristina Webb
This week, Oct. 19-23, marks the fifth annual Alcohol Awareness Week at Palm Beach Atlantic University. Organized by PBA’s Department of Health and Wellness, the event seeks to promote awareness of the dangers of alcohol abuse.
“We have run this weekly program each of the past five years I have been here but this year proves to be one of the most active,” said Vince Diller, director of Health and Wellness.
While PBA raises awareness on campus, universities across the nation will take part in similar efforts to discourage students from “issues related to college drinking like binge drinking, sexual assaults and alcohol, and alcoholism,” Diller said.
“Specifically at PBA we hope to highlight these issues because they are very impactful issues in society, but we also want to look at them through the lens of Christianity,” Diller said. “Asking questions like, ‘Should a Christian partake in alcohol? If so, why or why not?’ is part of how we hope PBA’s program will be different than other schools.”
Dr. Mary Ann Searle, vice president for Student Development, said she has seen great results from past Alcohol Awareness Weeks.
“When our faculty, staff, or students have experienced alcohol abuse in their families and/or with their friends, they see ‘first-hand’ the negative impact on themselves and others,” Searle said. “When these people are willing to ‘tell their story’ or ‘share their testimony’ publicly or privately, students listen and learn.”
Events have been organized throughout the week, and it all kicks off with a debate Monday night in the student lounge between PBA professors Dr. Craig Hanson and Dr. Phil Henry, who will discuss whether or not of-age Christians should drink.
This is followed by Tuesday’s event: a mid-day display in front of the cafeteria entitled “Do You Know Your Limit?” A graph will mimic the average alcohol tolerance level of college students.
“We’re going to create a graph that shows guys’ and girls’ blood alcohol levels according to their weight and then against how many alcoholic beverages they have drunk,” said event organizer and peer educator Cheyanne Lent. “We want to emphasize students’ learning their .05 blood alcohol [content], the PBA limit.”
Wednesday evening, students can head over to the Rinker Green and student lounge to have “mocktails” — virgin pina coladas and strawberry daiquiris — with the Student Success Center.
“There are a variety of events for each type of person,” Diller said.
In addition to the many individual events held throughout the week, displays will be placed around campus highlighting alcohol statistics and the dangers of binge drinking, Diller said.
“Most notable will be a DUI wrecked car parked on the Rinker Green for the week,” Diller said.
Searle hopes that students can be reached this week who may not normally have the opportunity to learn about the perils of alcohol misuse.
“If students struggle with alcohol here at PBA, I hope that they will come forward through the Amnesty Program,” Searle said. “We want to help them deal with this issue before it becomes an addiction that controls their personal and professional lives.”
Schedule of events for Alcohol Awareness Week:
Monday, Oct. 19:
Alcohol Awareness Debate feat. Dr. Craig Hanson and Dr. Phil Henry
Student Lounge, 7 to 8 p.m.
Tuesday, Oct. 20:
“Do You Know Your Limit?” Graph
Outside of Cafeteria, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Wednesday, Oct. 21:
Mocktails with Student Success
Rinker Green and Student Lounge, 4:30 to 6:30 p.m.
Thursday, Oct. 22:
Bottle People Presentation with Peggy Padden
Student Lounge Fireplace, 6 to 7 p.m.
Friday, Oct. 23:
Alcohol Awareness Chapel
Upstairs Weyenberg, 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.