Interactive Alcohol Education Shows Consequences First Hand
The scene on the lawn across from Millersville University's Gordinier Hall looked grave: A silver SUV mangled beyond any hope of use was perched precariously on the hill, while the flashing strobes of a police car cast bright lights on a student taking a sobriety test.
Fortunately, the "accident" was a simulation -- part of the wellness center's alcohol awareness initiative, which took place in October. "Students have been inundated with alcohol education, with facts and information," said Trey Little, graduate assistant for the wellness center. "But the DUI crash simulation makes the consequences of alcohol use and poor decisions tangible."
The scene shocked junior psychology major Lindsey Mitchell, "It was horrible. I've never seen a car in that condition. You could reach through holes in the doors and there was a child's car seat in the back that was totally destroyed."
Michael Shock, graduate assistant for Gaige Hall, one of the freshman residence halls, also held a unique alcohol awareness program at the monthly social in October. Students at the social were equipped with "drunk goggles" – plastic goggles that distort the wearer's vision as if they were heavily intoxicated.
After donning the goggles, students sat down to try their hand at a racing video game on PlayStation 3. "Everyone crashed almost immediately," Shock said. "Certainly the message was clear: you cannot safely or successfully drive after drinking and the consequences can be deadly."
The social also featured "mocktail,s"or cocktails without alcohol. At the conclusion of the event, students checked the bottoms of their cups for statistics relating to underage drinking outcomes in college -- some indicated a safe night and others indicating arrests, sickness, DUI or other negative consequences of drinking.
"Sometimes statistics seem artificial to college students, they feel invincible like that [bad thing] won't happen to me," Shock said. "By showing students the percentage of their peers that really would have been sick, arrested or worse, I think that really hits home."