Campus organizations urge student health on Unofficial

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Campus organizations urge student health on Unofficial

Members of Intervarsity Christian Fellowship hand out cups of water on Green Street during Unofficial St. Patricks Day.

Members of Intervarsity Christian Fellowship hand out cups of water on Green Street during Unofficial St. Patricks Day.

Members of Intervarsity Christian Fellowship hand out cups of water on Green Street during Unofficial St. Patricks Day.

Members of Intervarsity Christian Fellowship hand out cups of water on Green Street during Unofficial St. Patricks Day.

By Camille Murray

Several student organizations, community groups and law enforcement agencies are working to maximize student safety and health on Unofficial this Friday.

Mary Russell, clinical psychologist at the Counseling Center’s Alcohol and Other Drug Office, said the office’s main concern on Unofficial is that excessive student drinking will lead to negative consequences. These consequences include violence, sexual assault, alcohol poisoning, legal and disciplinary outcomes, injuries and death.

“There’s any number of programs and activities across the campus trying to educate students about their resources and encourage them to be involved in safe, low-risk behaviors for Unofficial,” said Domonic Cobb, associate dean of students.

Cobb said the Office of the Dean of Students will be promoting student safety on Unofficial through its “Re-Think the Drink” campaign. Students can go online to take a quiz on alcohol consumption, learn how to help friends who may have drunk too much, design a plan for Unofficial, find campus and community resources and watch responsible drinking PSA videos. 

The Illinois Student Senate is one of the several organizations participating in student safety efforts. On Friday they will provide hydration stations at four different locations: the Alma Mater, the corner of Fifth and Daniel streets, near the Armory and near the Oak Street Library Facility.

“We’re serving students by providing a service for them, but we’re also promoting a bigger goal of safety and keeping everyone hydrated on a day when a lot of people binge drink,” said Madison Scanlan, chair of ISS’s Committee on Campus Safety and Student Rights.

The stations aim to keep students from becoming dehydrated, which is a side effect of excessive alcohol consumption. This is the first year ISS will provide the stations.

InterVarsity, a Christian student organization, has offered hydration stations in the past and will continue to provide the resource Friday near their office location on the corner of Green and Sixth streets.

Organizations have also tried to curb the number of alcohol-related incidents by providing students with educational information.

Last week, the Champaign Community Coalition, Office of the Dean of Students and the University and Champaign police departments teamed up for the annual “Walk as One” event to educate students about safe drinking.

“We’ve done it in advance of Unofficial to alert students about the dangers associated with the event,” Cobb said.

Students, community members and law enforcement went door-to-door throughout the campus district to pass out fliers pertaining to alcohol education and safety. According to Cobb, the volunteers were able to visit approximately 4,100 residences.

Russell believes students should avoid alcohol-related issues on Unofficial by being purposeful in their choices throughout the day. She said students who choose to drink should think of it “in terms of a marathon, not a sprint” and spread their drinks out over the course of the day.

“Students need a personal plan for Unofficial, whether or not they decide to drink,” Russell said.

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