Tech hosts 'ThinkFirst' alcohol awareness program

Apr 12, 2010 | General News

“The handcuffs are off. Mom and Dad aren’t here.”
It’s the mentality of many college students that leads to excessive drinking, says Chris Medley, Tech’s alcohol and drug counselor.
“Most juniors and seniors I talk to have told me that when they started college, they basically drank very often simply because they thought it was the thing to do… and Mom and Dad were not around to watch out for them,” Medley said.
This is why he says the ThinkFirst alcohol awareness program hosted by Tech’s Counseling Services, April 14 starting at 10:00 a.m. in the TONK, will reach more underclassmen, the students who statistically imbibe more frequently.
The program, an hour long event offered twice that day, is free to attend and will feature speakers who sustained an alcohol-related injury, as well as opportunities to try goggles that simulate vision at different levels of intoxication and a device that calculates blood-alcohol-content.
But Sarah Cassiere, a freshman accounting major, thinks that most underclassmen in the target audience have been desensitized to the program’s message from multiple attempts to communicate the same topic in high school.
“Honestly, most people have made the choice by college of whether or not they’re going to drink,” Cassiere said. “Some people have heard it so much that they’re just turned off to it, like ‘I’ve heard this 30 times before; I’m just going to tune this out.'”
And for those students who have already experienced the effects of alcohol first-hand, Cassiere said class extra credit might be the only thing that would entice student attendance.
Emily Smith, coordinator of ThinkFirst programs, thinks the program will cater to all types of students.
“The program is beneficial to everyone,” Smith said. “Our programs are designed to reinforce the injury prevention message at crucial intervals to encourage young people to ‘ThinkFirst’ before engaging in risky behavior.”
Medley said the program isn’t solely about alcohol.
“The focus of the program is brain and spinal injury caused by auto accidents,” he said. “Those accidents happen with or without someone being under the influence. This is about making smart decisions when driving, and it could also be helpful if someone has a friend that engages in drinking and driving.”
If safety is the issue, Cassiere says there is one program she’d like to attend: an instructional self-defense class.
“It’s useful,” she said. “(Self-defense) is a skill every girl needs. This is just Ruston, but it can get scary.”
Written by Meridith Maines