Alcohol focus of week

By Jeff Cutler

Educating and informing students about serious problems associated with alcohol abuse will be a campus-wide issue this week, which is this year’s National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week.

The week will kick off today with a balloon launch in the Martin Luther King Mall at noon. A “Think when you drink banner” also will be displayed at that time.

This week’s events will include a mock D.U.I. accident, a TCBY yogurt social in Cole Hall, a piano bar with music, dancing, and free mocktails in Neptune Central, an OCR-sponsored “fun-run” on Saturday and lectures designed to educate the campus on the serious problems associated with alcohol abuse.

“The beer industry is spending literally millions of dollars each year to advertise on college campuses, while we are spending only hundreds to educate on the problems associated with alcohol abuse,” said Larry Bolles, University Judicial Office director.

NIU has an ongoing responsibility to educate the students as much as possible, he said. “There is a big push and a lot of money coming from the other side (the alcohol industry), and we need to do what we can to balance things out,” Bolles said.

The week’s events are sponsored by numerous NIU student organizations, although the primary sponsor is BACCHUS, which stands for Boost Alcohol Consciousness Concerning the Health of University Students.

Currently 20 members strong, BACCHUS members work to encourage their peers to consider, talk honestly about and develop responsible habits and attitudes toward the use or non-use of alcohol, said Joanna Deauth, BACCHUS faculty adviser.

“Our philosophy is that students can play a uniquely effective role that is unmatched by professional educators,” Deauth said. The NIU chapter is one of over 300 affiliated chapters nationwide that will sponsor this year’s Alcohol Awareness Week.

One of the larger events BACCHUS will sponsor is a “celebrity drink” to take place in the Pow Wow Cafeteria in the Holmes Student Center Tuesday from noon to 3 p.m.

Over a period of three hours, local celebrities will consume alcohol and perform tests to show the loss of normal control as a person’s alcohol level increases, Deauth said.

The Wellness Resource Center, located on the main floor of the student center, also will dedicate the entire week to alcohol education.

The center will teach students how to measure their blood alcohol level and answer any questions students might have about alcohol use.

The center also will provide a free non-alcoholic bar throughout the week to introduce students to non-alcoholic beer, wine and champagne, said Mike Mallow, Health Enhancement assistant administrator.

“It is important we introduce an alternative drinking style to the students. We are trying to show that drinking can still be fun without alcohol,” Mallow said.

The week also will feature two lectures being presented in hopes of educating the campus on the affects of alcohol abuse. Both will be held in Room 121 of Davis Hall. The lectures are sponsored by Sigma Pi fraternity.

Members of NIU Health Enhancement Services will speak at 7 p.m. tonight on safe partying habits and reducing injury due to intoxication. On Tuesday night at 9 p.m., speakers from Alcoholics Anonymous will discuss what can be done when alcohol dependency gets out of hand.

“We feel the university should be more aware of the effects of alcohol and the implications involved with abuse,” said Joel Gregoire, Sigma Pi lecture coordinator.

The Campus Activities Board will provide free alternative drinks during this Saturday’s Parent’s Day football tailgate. “We feel this is an excellent way to show both students and their parents that alcohol doesn’t need to be consumed to have fun while tailgating,” said Barry Moscowitz, CAB vice president.

Tuesday: Misconceptions about college students’ drinking habits based on a NIU survey about alcohol consumption and the effects of intoxication.