Monday, September 21, 2009
It was an eerie scene: a Lexus dismantled, and the owners were the victims of a DUI accident. A coffin was mounted, lined with the words: “Reserved for the Next Drunk Driving Victim.” This was a gruesome indication of the ultimate consequences when you drink and drive. These were just some of the props used during the DUI (Driving Under the Influence) Awareness campaign held recently at the K.W. Green Student Center on the campus of SC State University.
“DUI is not the way to go,” said junior Joshua McGrier. “This is a serious matter,” he continued.
Ariel Singleton, campus activity board advisor, echoed those sentiments. That is why she, along with the SC State University Police Department, Student Government Association (SGA), and the Counseling and Self-Development Center partnered to create the DUI Awareness Campaign. “If this event touched one person and it changed their overall perception of driving under the influence, then we did our job,” said Singleton.
The DUI Awareness Campaign’s primary objective is to save lives. As a part of the campaign, students were introduced to the National Save a Life Tour, which utilized DUI simulators to demonstrate the impact of impaired driving, giving realistic visual imagery, as well as simulating tunnel vision and real life driving situations while under the influence. “The DUI simulator gives you a forewarning of how it feels to be a drunk driver and how it affects your overall perception,” said freshman Cleveland Council.
Student Government Association President Zachary Middleton noted that the simulator and the stringent DUI enforcement on campus, are primary reasons why SGA worked in conjunction with administrators on the DUI Awareness Campaign. “DUI is such a major issue on college campuses, and we wanted to get the word out to encourage our young people not to drink and drive,” said Middleton.
DUI is a major issue. According to the video presented during the Save a Life Tour, 40 percent of college students have engaged in at least one form of binge drinking. That’s why policies enforced by Michael Bartley, interim police chief, include a zero tolerance for DUI on campus, continuous safety checkpoints, and the creation of a traffic unit that will strictly enforce all traffic violations such as excessive speeding due to alcohol-related violations.
The Counseling and Self-Development Center will also aid in these efforts to curb DUI related accidents. According to Dr. Cherilyn Taylor, director of the Counseling and Self-Development Center, the department plays a major role in assisting students with alcohol-related issues. This year, the Center has enhanced their methods of providing services through partnership with the National Partners for Recovery/HBCU Addictions Technology Transfer Center Leadership Network. The Center’s graduate practicum interns and undergraduate W.A.T.C.H.D.O.G. peer mentors were also on hand to share information about the dangers of alcohol with students visiting the DUI displays.
The message is blunt and hard hitting~drunk driving kills. Thanks to the DUI Awareness Campaign, students now realize that this is a serious matter. “This makes people aware that it could happen to them,” stated Miss SC State, Zuri Stackhouse. “We aren’t super heroes and we could die at any moment. I think this will really open their eyes.”