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Alcohol awareness: Starting the conversation

BY Bryan Ramos | THE RIDER

The Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities will host events in observance of Alcohol Awareness Week at both campuses to start the conversation about safe alcohol use./Lesley Robles/The Rider
The Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities will host events in observance of Alcohol Awareness Week at both campuses to start the conversation about safe alcohol use./Lesley Robles/The Rider

The Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities (SRR) is observing Alcohol Awareness Week today through Friday by hosting events aimed at shedding light on the risks and dangers that come with drinking alcohol.

Debra Torres, a judicial affairs officer with Student Rights and Responsibilities, said the purpose of Alcohol Awareness Week is to start an open conversation about alcohol.

“Alcohol Awareness Week is an opportunity for us to start the dialogue of alcohol and responsible decision-making,” Torres said. “It encourages becoming educated and empowered about alcohol and what to do if you find yourself in situations that aren’t ideal.”

The events kick off with Alcohol 101: Popcorn and a Movie at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Unity Hall in Edinburg presented by SRR and Residence Life. The event is open to the public. There will be short educational videos about alcohol and binge drinking along with games to play.

On Wednesday in the Edinburg Student Union Commons, SRR is teaming up with multiple organizations to help raise awareness. SRR and the University Police Department are providing beer goggles to give the experience of what being drunk is like. The event, Inspire Others: Tell Us Your Story, allows students to anonymously share their experiences with alcohol for others to see. SRR and the Super Hero Project will host Chips with Tips, with alcohol factoids, or tips, attached to a bag of chips. Alcohol and STDs, Synthetic Drugs and Alcohol Mixture, U in the Driver Seat will be sponsored by Student Health Services. The event will run from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

SRR will host the same event from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Thursday in the Student Union on the Brownsville campus.

Alcohol Awareness Week concludes Thursday with Alcohol 101: Popcorn and a Movie at 7 p.m. in the Casa Bella clubhouse in Brownsville.

Kristina Canfield, program coordinator of the Collegiate Recovery Program, said there is one area in which society is failing young drinkers, and that’s why Alcohol Awareness is a great opportunity.

“One thing we do a bad job of is not asking young people about their drinking habits,” Canfield said. “Two-thirds of people between ages 18 and 39 saw a physician at some point in the last year. Only 14 percent of them got asked about their alcohol consumption. We need to start asking people about their drinking habits.”

Torres said young adults need to focus on decision-making when consuming alcohol.

“There’s no way we can prevent anyone from making the decision of drinking, but it’s all about becoming educated about what we’re putting into our system and making responsible decisions. If you’re over 21 and want to enjoy an alcoholic beverage, that’s OK. It’s getting into the car and making that decision to drive that’s dangerous,” Torres said. “We all know someone in our lives that has been affected negatively by alcohol. It starts the dialogue that you’re not alone and there’s so many people who have experienced what you’ve experienced.”

For more information regarding Alcohol Awareness Week and a schedule of events, follow the UTRGV Student Rights and Responsibilities-SRR page or Student Life page on Facebook.

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