SGA-sponsored week combats crime, drunk driving

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SGA-sponsored week combats crime, drunk driving

Riley Guerzini, Editor-in-Chief

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This year’s Alcohol Awareness Week came with a little twist. 

The annual educational week hosted by SGA  combined with Crime Prevention week, which usually occurs in the spring.

Associate Vice President of University Affairs Amaka Atuegbu said both events are focused on safety so the student government felt they could combine them.

“We thought it would be a good idea to bring it together and then come up with another initiative for the spring,” Atuegbu said.

SGA’s University Affairs Committee organized the week of events aimed at combating issues with alcohol and crime prevention.

SGA members handed out mocktails on Oct. 21, where students had the opportunity to try the mocktails and if they guessed the recipe, they received a safety shirt.

The committee also hosted a panel discussion in Traditions Lounge on Oct. 22 with five rehabilitation specialists and local law enforcement officers. 

The panelists include Logan’s Promise founder Charles Brown, Assistant Director of Public Safety Sam Preston, self-made artist in recovery April Forker, Boyett Treatment Center founder Nate Boyett and Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Deputy Clint Stanton.

“I’m super excited about it because it’s a rich, diverse group,” Atuegbu said. “For example, you have someone who, she’s a self-made artist and she’s in recovery and she was so happy that I asked her to come speak because she really wants to share her recovery experience with students.”

Charles Brown, the father of Evansville teen Logan Brown, was killed by a drunk driver in 2014. He spoke about his experiences with alcohol and drunk driving and how he uses those experiences to motivate change in the community.

“We had the initial shock factor that really made an instant change within the community, but once the shock went away, it kind of has been a slow process within our lawmakers and within legislation,” he said.

Involuntary manslaughter while driving under the influence of alcohol in the state of Indiana is only a class 5 or class 4 felony depending on prior history, while in other states like Kentucky, it is classified as first-degree murder.

Brown believes awareness is key to changing the perception of drinking and driving in Evansville and society.

“The awareness is instrumental to the whole entire change,” he said. “We always understood that drinking and driving was bad, but we never totally evaluated the whole entire outcome,” he said. “We have seen some good things coming and we do see change, but we also realize that we have a long way to go.”

There was a cookout with hamburgers, hotdogs and music and drunk driving simulation with golf carts using beer goggles on Oct. 23 on the Quad. Public Safety hosted an active shooter training on Oct. 24 and SGA members will be hosting a donuts and pictures session Oct. 25 in the Breezeway at 10 a.m.

“I’m very excited about this,” Atuegbu said. “We have put in a lot of work to plan it.”

Atuegbu said it’s important to bring awareness to these issues and let students know that even though they might have reached the legal drinking age, they should still consider their safety.

“At the end of the day, no one knows tomorrow,” she said. “It doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t take steps to ensure that we are protected.”

Atuegbu said she is unsure of how much the week cost but said it was “well within their budget.”

She said she wanted the events to be educational but also fun-filled.

“This is a serious issue, so how do we address it?” she said.

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