The student-led campaign Stop @ Buzzed is implementing programs to help students make smart decisions regarding alcohol.
On November 16, the Stop @ Buzzed campaign promoted “Eat Before You Go Out,” for the second year in a row.
The promotion provided students around campus to with $5 vouchers to redeem at Scooter’s from 4:30 to 7:30.
Junior Sarah Cossette, who created the program, said the goal was to promote eating on campus before students go out for a night of drinking.
“I coordinated with (Scooter’s supervisor) Nick Ortega … and we decided what the amount would be and it was five dollars per coupon,” Cossette said. “Obviously everybody loves free food, so we were trying to get attention that way.”
Assistant psychology professor Jessica Siegel, who studies alcohol’s effects on the brain, said that it is smart to eat before drinking. She did say, however, that it doesn’t prevent all the dangers of drinking.
“While it can help be a good safety tip, you could still get alcohol poisoning with enough alcohol consumption even if you’re eating,” Siegel said. “So it’s not a free pass.”
Last year, out of 40 coupons handed out, seven were redeemed. However, this year, 27 were redeemed out of 60 handed out. Cossette said that there was a higher demand for the coupons this year, too.
“We’re targeting (first-year students) because we know it happens, we know that it’s obviously illegal, it’s not smart … and we can’t stop it,” Cossette said. “We’re just trying to give people the smart ways to stay responsible and stay safe.”
Siegel said that confronting that reality and providing education is a good way to handle underage drinking on campus.
Cossette said in the future, Stopped @ Buzzed would like to try and target a broader audience somehow.
According to Cossette, the coupons were chosen to be handed out on Thursday night because of a shuttle bus that transports St. Thomas students to a local bar. She also said that they would like to push the time of handing out the coupons back so that it’s closer to when people would be getting on the shuttle to leave.
Siegel said that there is a possible risk of pressuring students to drink with a name like “Eat Before You Go Out,” but acknowledged that the Wellness Center does a good job with providing other alternatives other than drinking drinking.
Cossette said that the Stop @ Buzzed program tries not to promote drinking. Instead, they try to give students who decide to drink the tools to make responsible and safe decisions.
Siegel said that she believes that we’ve moved beyond trying to enforce abstinence from all drug use and hope that programs like this help make people make smart decisions.
“Hopefully most of this is just educational in its nature,” Siegel said.
Kailyn Johnson can be reached at email@example.com.