Story by Sabra Jackson, Contributing writer
Many organizations are collaboratively planning “Safe Spring Break” programming to inform students how to stay safe this Spring Break.
Participating organizations include the Calloway-County Alliance for Substance Abuse Prevention, Campus Police, Student Health Educators Association, Health and Wellness Peer Educators, the Criminal Justice Society, the Women’s Center and Health Services
The programming is being funded by the Murray State Strategic Plan Grant.
“Really we are just trying to raise awareness of personal safety and healthier decision making during spring break,” said Miranda Terry, assistant professor and program director of Public and Community Health.
She said the organizations involved will be giving out useful tools such as sunscreen, condoms, pamphlets and flyers with information on sexually transmitted infections and the legal and financial consequences of drunk driving.
The program is comprised of different activities that will encourage students to be aware of their actions during the week. The topics that will be covered during the event are alcohol poisoning signs and symptoms and sun safety, as well as much more.
“The event is being held in order to help our campus community learn some interesting ways to stay safe as well as teach healthy decision making while enjoying spring break activities,” said Matthew Allen, senior from Tompkinsville, Kentucky and peer education student coordinator with the Health and Wellness Peer Educators and vice president of the Student Health Educators Association.
Peer educators are focusing on personal item safety while vacationing, alcohol nutrition, alcohol and relationships, sun safety and more.
“Be proactive not reactive,” said Robert Bringhurst, captain of the Murray Police Department.
He said the programming is being used as a reminder of what students already know, but need to be especially aware of during the week of Spring Break.
Bringhurst said statistics of accidents during spring break vary by location, but there are higher alcohol related problems and instances of sexual assault for female college students.
The police department will be using the fatal/drunk goggles to show how students should limit their alcohol before impairment and there will be a simulation set up based on the level of intoxication while performing tasks such as playing corn hole or pouring a drink.
A few tips Bringhurst has for students include don’t drink and drive, get plenty of rest to be able to stay alert before traveling, put the phone down while driving, guard your drink at all times and use your best judgement.
The event is inside and outside the Curris Center March 13 to March 17 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Terry said the purpose of the programming is to provide hands-on experience for students interested in being community health educators as well as to provide a reminder to keep oneself safe. Health and wellness peer educators want to put healthy and safe decision making at the front of everyone’s mind while students are getting ready for Spring Break.
“The end goal of the program is to help our campus community be safer and make healthy decisions over Spring Break,” Allen said. “Spring break is a time to relax and have fun, but that does not mean putting themselves or others in dangerous situations.”