Raising Awareness about Alcohol Consumption and Support

By Frances Clause

Youngstown State University’s Kappa Chi chapter of Delta Zeta hosted the I Have a Choice campaign during National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week from Oct. 22 through 26.

NCAAW has been celebrated on campuses across the U.S. for more than 25 years and aims to raise awareness about the serious public health issues posed by excessive drinking among college students.

Throughout the week, the Kappa Chi chapter participated in NCAAW by educating YSU students about alcohol consumption at their table outside of Kilcawley Center.

Miranda Domiano, Kappa Chi chapter’s president and a senior studying special education, said I Have a Choice is an alcohol prevention and awareness experience designed to help students understand how to make informed decisions around alcohol at social events.

“Delta Zeta is honored to partner with the Coalition of Higher Education Associations for Substance Abuse Prevention and become the leader in educating college-age students about alcohol consumption,” she said. “Each day of  I Have a Choice throughout the week presents a different theme students can learn from.”

Kelsey Cirkvencic, a graduate student and risk adviser for the Kappa Chi chapter, said these themes include understanding the effects of alcohol on the body, mixing alcohol with prescription and other drugs, understanding respect and consent, addressing behaviors and concerns regarding alcohol and understanding drink sizes.

“It’s important for Delta Zeta to be involved in NCAAW because as an organization, we are able to teach students the dangers of alcohol abuse and inspire them to examine their lifestyle through these different topics,” she said.

Beth Brocker of YSU for Recovery, a drug and alcohol prevention program, said although the group understands students will drink, the only way to ensure safety is to abstain from alcohol.

“Anytime you consume alcohol, you run the risk of negative consequences such as unnecessary death and injury, legal issues and sexual or physical assault,” she said.

According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, about 1,825 college students die from alcohol-related injuries each year, and 696,000 are assaulted by another student that has been drinking. About 97,000 students also report experiencing alcohol-related sexual assault.

Brocker said YSU for Recovery is a member of the Mahoning County Drug Task Force, which allows the student organization to have access to many resources and facilitate connectedness with the community.

“YSU for Recovery promotes well-being for students in recovery and their supporters,” she said. “We are passionate about sharing resources, encouraging self-discovery and enriching the social lives of our members.”

The goals of the organization include increasing the number of substance-free activities on campus and reducing the stigma around recovery and substance use disorders, along with other addictive behaviors.

“[YSU for Recovery] provides a safe space for students to discuss how substance use may affect them,” Brocker said. “The group is also knowledgeable on 12-step meetings provided in the area and can facilitate linking students to needed support.”

YSU for Recovery meets every Wednesday at noon in the Esterly Room of Kilcawley Center and is open to all YSU students.