Dublin alcohol knowledge and safety

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You don’t need the luck o’ the Irish to get home after a night of consuming green beer. You just need to know how to drink it responsibly.

“Thee St. Patrick’s Day House Party” was held from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. on Thursday, March 16, in the Thompson Student Activities Room (TSAR) and was created to inform students about being safe while partying and having fun while doing it.

Peer Health Education Coordinator Cortney Heileman said the event is beneficial to all students and teaches them valuable lessons.

“This program has been going on for numerous years – I want to say at least six or seven,” she said. “We provide education about alcohol and drugs, and we partner with Program Board and Student Life to bring the party atmosphere.”

The event was held as a joint activity between PHE, Program Board and Valley Nights.

To get into the party, students had participated in an educational lesson, which helped inform them about the common problems associated with drinking, such as blood alcohol content; how to track their own drinks; what are drink sizes; and how to be safe at a party.

The party itself had a dance club atmosphere, a DJ, and themed mocktails, which are non-alcoholic cocktails, named Misty Mint, Emerald Rain and Shamrock Shaker.

“I like that it is a club atmosphere in that there is a line outside and a wait time to get in, but then it’s a quick education piece and then a party,” Heileman said. “I also like that, in order for them to leave the party, they must have a designated driver … so just getting them in the habit of their own lives. That’s my favorite aspect of it.”

Students learn subtle hints by participating in “Thee St. Patrick’s Day Party” and learn effective safety measures that could prevent drunk driving and manipulation by other bar patrons.

Program Board President Billy Nichols said the event is an effort between the three organizations to educate and illuminate students on the topic of alcohol and drugs.

“I love the event because it brings education and partying safety into one environment,” he said. “We put on this event twice a year – one each semester. Each of the three organizations contribute volunteers, money and education about drinking responsibility.”

Alcohol Education Intern Megan Christoson said there are many benefits to the event. And, PHE is actively trying to help students find safe and fun activities aside from drinking and drug use.

“My favorite part is that it gives students alternatives,” she said. “We do it on specific weekends, thus St. Patrick’s Day weekend, which is a huge party weekend, and we also do the same kind of party on Welcome Weekend. Students get here and think they need to be drinking to have fun.”

During “Thee St. Patrick’s Day Party,” Program Board raffled multiple gifts as well, such as a television, Beats headphones, a tablet, a Fitbit and gift cards.

Christoson said the event allows students to have fun without alcohol as it is a non-pressure event.

“You’re never forced to take a drink,” she said. “And we also have our tobacco and other drugs education going on as well.”

Another alcohol awareness program mentioned by Christoson is the “CHEERS to the Designated Driver.”

Students with a proper university ID and a “CHEERS” key chain can purchase non-alcoholic drinks for free from 14 different bars in the Tri-Cities. The initiative hopes to bolster DDs in the area.

In the future, PHE will be hosting Peer Olympics, a sexual health resource fair, and Relaxation Night.