Megan Palumbo & Brian Cohen – Co-editor-in-chief & 1851 staff
The Peer Health Education worked collaboratively with a committee of student affairs offices, hosted events around campus on Oct. 15-19, in honor of National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week.
Senior Peer Health Educator Cameron Brennan said the purpose of Alcohol Awareness Week “is to make [students] aware of the specific dangers of alcohol, but making it known how to properly use alcohol.”
Health Educator and Counselor Allison Whitcomb has been putting together Alcohol Awareness Week for four years. “I think it’s really awesome to do the cross-campus collaboration and work with other departments for a common goal. [Alcohol] affects so many different parts of your life, and as a student on a college campus we want to support you holistically, not just academics, not just residentially, but as a whole person,” said Whitcomb.
Monday’s event was held in Donahue Plaza, where students could enter a raffle, get “Rethink the Drink” bracelets, take a photo with Boomer and learn about resources from Peer Health Educators.
“We’re promoting items like our ‘Take A Break’ initiative, where you take a break and make sure you’re having the equivalent amount of water as alcohol,” said Brennan. “We’re giving out bracelets, so you can rethink the drink because sometimes you can go overboard and binge drink, which is a common thing among college students across the nation.”
On Tuesday, Counseling and Health Services provided alcohol screenings in the Glow Lounge using an audit scoring device. This analyzes one’s drinking habits and looks at family history of alcoholism. “It’s really more so just to be a tool for conversation,” Whitcomb said.
Peer Health Educators sat outside Valentine Dining Hall on Wednesday for their Red Solo Cup and Stomp Out Smoking event. Participants were asked to write down how alcohol has impacted their lives on paper red solo cups. Some students wrote about family members dealing with alcohol addiction, while others said it prevented them from getting a job or caused them to miss class. “Stop smoking kits” were given out for those who may be struggling to quit smoking.
There were two events on Thursday, including a drunk driving simulation in the Intercultural Center & Commuter Cottage in the afternoon, and pumpkin carving at the Briggs Wellness House at night. Senior Peer Health Educator Taylor Walby was at the simulation event and said Peer Health “focused on the driving simulation wearing the drunk goggles while playing Mario Kart. It really allows people, while they are sober to see the effects [alcohol] has whether they realize it or not.”
At the pumpkin carving event, students could choose to paint or carve their pumpkin, eat donuts and drink apple cider. Residential Life collaborated with Peer Health and other offices in student affairs to put on their own program for alcohol awareness.
Area Coordinator Rob Harrington said doing this event on Thursday was no coincidence. “We know Thursdays are very busy nights on campus for a lot of people. We’re trying to give an alternative activity for students participating,” Harrington said. This was Area Coordinator Cyntoya Simmons’ first alcohol awareness program at Lasell. “Everybody’s just coming together and having fun,” she said. “You anticipate people coming but you never know because it’s not something you have to be at. So, just to see everybody still painting and carving. It’s fun.”
The week-long event concluded in Donahue Plaza on Friday. Peer Health handed out swag bags with information on how to make safe and informed decisions on alcohol and tobacco use.
Narissa Libby, a sophomore soccer player was there to grab a swag bag. “I think [Alcohol Awareness Week] is important because obviously a lot of college kids drink, so it helps you if a friend drinks too much and makes you aware of how much alcohol is in a drink,” Libby said. She likes the approach Lasell has taken on these issues because, “it is focused on making people aware of the dangers of alcohol as opposed to telling students not to do it.”