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September 21, 2023

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Students learn alcohol safety through games, simulations

When Ashley Ross took off her drunk goggles, the reality of how impaired one can feel while intoxicated surprised her.

“Everything looked shifted off to one side,” Ross said. “I couldn’t even walk a straight line with them on, let alone drive.”

Ross was participating in the Drunken Obstacle Course activity on Monday hosted in the Union by the University’s chapter of the National Association and Advancement of Colored People.

Kelci Smith and Jasmine Jennings, both juniors, co-hosted the games.

“At first we wanted to have these games happen before spring break,” Smith said. “But the scheduling didn’t work out. We decided to go on with the event anyway because the issues are still important.”

The purpose of the games was to help raise awareness and prevent drinking while driving, Jennings said.

“We wanted people to be aware of how alcohol affected them,” Jennings said. “But we want to teach people in a fun way instead of being lectured at.”

Erica Sims, president of the University’s chapter of NAACP, said the event helped emphasis safety while drinking.

“We know that people will go out and party for spring break and St. Patrick’s Day,” Sims said. “We just want them to be safe while doing it.”

Sims wanted an officer from the University Police Department to speak to students at the event, but she had trouble contacting them.

“After spring break, we wanted to have the games happen before St. Patrick’s Day,” Sims said. “But the police department didn’t get back to us until last Wednesday. That’s OK though, because with the warmer weather, more students will be going out to drink.”

Officer William Pollock from the UPD came to talk about the consequences of driving under the influence.

“I brought drunk goggles to help show what it is like to walk while intoxicated,” Pollock said. “They mess with your depth perception and balance.”

After informing them about the different laws pertaining to alcohol, Pollock had the students simulate walking a straight line with the goggles on.

“It was really hard,” Ross said. “I kept falling over. It was impossible to remain standing, even more so to walk a straight line.”

Pollock hopes these games and practicing the drunk test will prevent the students from making mistakes.

“Just don’t drink and drive,” Pollock said. “You can take a taxi or walk. The main goal is don’t allow you or your friends to be put into a situation where you need to drink and drive. Be smart, be safe.”

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