Alcohol safety promoted during event at WKU

Campus police patrol sergeant Ricky Powell guides Louisville sophomore Sydnie Wright as she attempts to walk in a straight line Tuesday while wearing drunk goggles. “If you’ve ever driven impaired, you’re gonna see what it’s like,” Powell told students. “And I hope you haven’t.” Administrators and members from campus police gathered in the lobby of DUC to raise awareness about alcohol intoxication and drunk driving.

Melissa Hardesty

A variety of campus organizations came together Tuesday afternoon to promote alcohol awareness on campus.

The University Police Department, Health Services, Housing and Residence Life, the Counseling and Testing Center and hall directors each sponsored a free event of information table in the lobby of DUC to teach students about safe alcohol use, the dangers of drunk driving and to promote awareness of sexual assault due to alcohol use.

Events included mocktails, games of “water pong,” field sobriety tests with beer goggles and the opportunity to fill out an alcohol screening test in exchange for a free T-shirt or bag.

McCormack Hall’s assistant hall director Nikki Eversole said the event wasn’t about preventing alcohol use.

“We’re not naïve enough to think you guys aren’t going to drink,” Eversole said. “The main purpose of this event is to teach students about how to drink responsibly and prevent alcohol poisoning.”

Alcohol poisoning, which occurs more frequently than people realize, is a “scary situation,” said Betsy Pierce of the Counseling and Testing Center.

When asked if they knew the symptoms of alcohol poisoning, many students participating in a game of “water pong” weren’t sure what to look for or how to treat the condition.

Ricky Powell from the WKU Police Department said he believes the event was “definitely successful.”

Powell helped conduct field sobriety tests. Students who participated wore goggles which simulated the sight of someone who is drunk, then perform sobriety tests that are used when someone is pulled over on suspicion of drunk driving. Tests included navigating a remote control car through a maze, standing on one foot for 30 seconds and walking in a straight line.

Frankfort sophomore Teairra Timmons said she enjoyed the car more than the other tests because she felt she had more control, but she appreciated gaining experience.

“I never knew what tests they actually made you do when you get pulled over,” she said. “They’re definitely harder than I expected them to be.”

Another popular event was “water pong” — a play on the drinking game beer pong. Students attempted to throw a ping pong ball into cups of water, all of which had markings on the bottom. If they missed the cup, they were asked a question. If they made it into the cup, they were given a fact about alcohol use, sexual assault and the diseases that can be transmitted through beer pong.

Dominique Yates, a freshman from Muhlenberg County, said he thought the game was very informational and taught students a lot about the dangers of alcohol and how sexually transmitted diseases can be transmitted through drinking games.

“I didn’t know you could get any diseases like that just from playing beer pong,” she said. “Some of those facts might make me think twice about playing next time I’m at a party.”