The College Alcohol Research Team (CART), the Counseling Psychology Student Government (CPSG) and Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students (BASICS) counselors will collaborate on College Alcohol Awareness Week Oct. 21 through Oct. 25. The event is designed to teach students about myths surrounding alcohol awareness, how their drinking habits can affect them mentally and physically and how they can change them.
“Our goal is to help students become more aware of their drinking patterns, how their drinking may impact their life including their academic and personal goals and to help them choose if and how they may want to reduce the consequences they experience as a result of their drinking,” said Michael Madson, associate professor in the psychology department.
Though College Alcohol Awareness Week occurs annually on college campuses throughout the country, this is the first year it will be held at Southern Miss. “Our plan is to make it an annual event to promote safe drinking on our campus,” said Kayla Moorer, CART member and junior doctoral student in the counseling psychology program.
CART members usually conduct research on the safe drinking habits of Southern Miss students. But, this year USM will expand alcohol awareness-related activities in an attempt to reach more people. “This year we are participating in CAAW as a means to reach out to the greater campus community and hopefully help students to engage in safer drinking behavior to reduce the harms often associated with drinking alcohol,” Madson said.
During the five-day event, students will participate in various activities that will educate them on the risks each person takes when he or she consumes alcohol. Several events that will take place include alcohol screenings in the R.C. Cook Union Lobby Wednesday, Oct. 23 from 10:30 a.m. until 1 p.m. and Myth Busting in the Payne Center Atrium Thursday, Oct. 24 from 3 p.m. until 5 p.m.
During the alcohol screenings, students will discuss their drinking habits and talk about what they can do to change them, if they so choose. The Myth Busting activity will educate attendees on the myths of alcohol and the damage it can cause.
College Alcohol Awareness Week isn’t designed to label people that choose to consume alcohol. Instead, it seeks to make each attendee think about changing their drinking habits, as well as what they can do to prevent alcohol-related tragedies. “The goal is to make students aware of harmful drinking patterns and provide information on the effects of alcohol,” said Christopher Morabito, a graduate student in the counseling psychology program.
“Our hope is not to condemn anyone for their drinking behavior, but to encourage the use of protective strategies while drinking in order to steer clear of life-altering consequences,” Moorer said.
For more information on CART and College Alcohol Awareness Week, visit www.usmcart.weebly.com.