Alcohol Awareness Week sheds light on alcohol abuse

Bethany Harms tries to walk in a straight line while wearing fatal vision goggles, which simulate being drunk. — Emily Novotny/ TRUMPET

Wartburg student, Scott Simpson spends most of his Saturday nights at Joe’s Knighthawk throwing back a few drinks and hanging out with friends.

Simpson said he gets tired of playing schoolboy during the week and he gets energy from the mob of people on the dance floor, his roommates and the loud music.

I could fill my time with other things but going out is what I want to do,Simpson said.

He is among many college students that drink on the weekends. While drinking is a popular pastime for students, this week college leaders want students to be aware of the impacts of drinking too much.

Molly Wertz, assistant director of Counseling Services, said she hears many students say there isn’t anything to do on the weekends, but she wants students to realize that drinking too much can impact your health and life.

Alcohol is a depressant, and binge drinking is classified as five or more drinks for men and four or more drinks for women. If a student engages in binge drinking once or twice a week you will see it effect sleep and cause sluggishness and less motivation, which can have an impact on school work, Wertz said.

Each year, Wartburg recognizes National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week. This year it is Monday, Oct. 15 through Friday, Oct. 19.

“It’s a week out of every year that colleges and universities across the U.S. try to implement programming and increase education on campus about the dangers of binge drinking and the importance of being a responsible drinker,” Wertz said.

“When we hear people say there is nothing for them to do we wonder, ‘what are their expectations?  What are they looking for?’” she said.

Wertz said there are a wide variety of activities available around campus that provide students with an alternative to drinking. Students just have to get creative.

Normally during the days I work and have academic responsibilities,” student Sam Banser said.In the evenings I hang out with friends, go to ETK events, movies and do other things outside.”

Wartburg also has over 100 organizations that students can be involved in. One in particular is AWARE (Alcohol Wisdom and Real Education).

AWARE is a student-run organization that provides information on alcohol-related issues and provides students with an alternative to drinking.

“AWARE isn’t a group that promotes not drinking, it promotes responsible drinking of age and reaching out to those not of age on how to make good choices,” Wertz said.

This organization hosts many events throughout the year like the Stress Free Zone, free wing and ice cream nights and movie nights.

“We give students an alternative to drinking by providing various events throughout the year that are free to them, while educating them on alcohol-related issues,” said Bethany Harms, vice president of AWARE.

As a part of National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week, an informational table will be set up from 9 a.m. to  4 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 16, with information on alcohol. From 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. students can test their driving in a golf cart while wearing fatal vision goggles.

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