ACE IT class passes with flailing colors

By Annie Piekarczyk

A week and a half ago, my fellow freshman buddies and I walked together to the Alcohol Culture Explored Interactive Theater, or ACE IT. This mandatory freshman seminar was designed to promote alcohol awareness and risk reduction through a short skit and a discussion afterwards.

The skit lasted about 25 minutes and was anything but professional. I know the actors were volunteers, but I assumed they’d at least have some sort of talent or that the skit would be relevant to my life. I tried to give the program the benefit of the doubt, but it was really a big joke.

That aside, it portrayed crazy-drunk freshmen going to parties, waking up in bed next to strangers, skipping class because they were drunk, and you know- the usual frat parties that apparently all freshmen go to. Afterward, during the discussion, we all sat in a circle in groups of 25 or so and talked about alcohol and the situations in the skit and how to not find ourselves radically drunk.

My discussion facilitators asked a bunch of questions about how the people in the skit could have avoided finding themselves in awkward positions (a.k.a. waking up next to the guy you sit next to in Econ).

I felt like the answer was pretty obvious. Um . how about you don’t drink? I’m pretty sure if you were sober, you wouldn’t find yourself waking up in a bed next to whatever-his-name-was.

But my answer wasn’t all too common, or even appreciated. People looked at me like I was crazy, even my discussion facilitators. Sidenote: My facilitators weren’t even 21. They were 20 but obviously knew enough about alcohol, parties, and drinks to talk with us about it. I have to say, I learned a lot of really vital information: “How to be a smart consumer,” as they so eloquently put it. As if there really is smart consuming at a frat party, much less during a keg stand. Please, give me a break.

The entire discussion wasn’t at all what I expected. We didn’t focus on not drinking, but instead on drinking less and not getting caught. Rather than discouraging underage drinking, we were told to beware of cops in certain bars, especially on game day, to tally the number of drinks we have, and to always have friends around when we drink. Yeah, okay, it’s pretty helpful stuff if you plan on going out to a bar on a Friday night. But the only bar I’m interested in going to is Radio Maria and that’s because of the salsa dancing, not the drinking.

I just got this overall feeling that the definition of ‘fun’ – at least as it was defined by the ACE IT facilitators – was confined to drinking and going to parties every other weekend. I know a lot of people that have fun that way and stay safe. But there are also those who have fun that way and end up coming home completely wasted. Which, let me tell you, is not so attractive. So in that respect, this ACE IT class might have done those people some good.

But for the rest of us that don’t feel the need to drink to have fun, well, we just wasted an hour and a half of our time.

I do have to admit, though, that it is almost inevitable that we’ll run into situations with alcohol at some point – underage or not – and knowing how to deal with them is really important.

But for the most part, if you find yourself with alcohol nearby, I’m pretty sure you had to have known it was going to be there. It’s a choice that you make. One that I just choose not to have to deal with. Not yet anyways.

There are better things that I can do than drink. But apparently my ACE IT facilitators didn’t think there were. They didn’t advertise any actual fun things to do outside of drinking at ACE IT. And there really is so much you can do sober, trust me.

They did however, manage to tell me what was in an Irish car bomb and the infamous jungle juice, which I don’t think I’ll be drinking anytime soon.