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'Alcohol awareness' defies campus habits

By Chelsea RoyalNews Editor

OSLA’s “Alcohol Awareness Week,” an annual event that seeks to educate students on the effects of alcohol abuse, began Wednesday after the long holiday weekend. “We’re talking about students making appropriate decisions for where they are developmentally in their lives,” said Brendan Caputo, an OSLA assistant director. Caputo wants students to be able to make appropriate decisions while reflecting on the consequences of their actions. He also thinks it is important for students to know that they have other options than drinking every weekend, and a support system if their habits get out of hand. “I think the purpose of our office is to provide an outlet for our students,” said Caputo. This week, OSLA is implementing both “passive” and “active” programs, where OSLA will email students information about alcohol safety, host a “Beer Goggle Challenge” and hear international student perspectives on drinking habits abroad. Underage alcohol use and abuse remain an issue on college campuses including the University, and nearly everyone on campus has their own stand. “Typically [public and underage] alcohol is one of the most common violations that we see on campus,” said Cheryl Betz, the assistant dean for the Office of Community Standards. Her office upholds University alcohol policies and deals with violations of community standards on campus. Above all it always stresses the P.R.I.D.E. principles. According to Daniella Musco, a junior psychology major, part of that trend may come from how drinking on the University’s campus differs from habits on other college campuses. From her experience, students at other colleges go to house parties on the weekends and not to the local bars as so many students do at Hofstra. “Most of the problem for under-aged people is they can go out to the bar and not get carded to drink,” said Musco. While OSLA has worked to strengthen its passive approach this year by sending students more emails and posting on its weekly blog, the office also continues to host featured events that promote sober fun and allow students to share some of their personal experiences. One of those personal stories comes from Kalandra Duncan, a senior community health major and the president of the University’s Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority. Duncan dealt with an accident in her family that resulted from drunk driving, and took a class that addressed issues of substance abuse. Her experiences motivated her to help her sorority bring a speaker, Marge Lee, to campus last year to discuss the effects of distracted and drunk driving. “We thought it needed to be addressed on Hofstra’s campus,” said Duncan, who hopes that the Lee’s return this week will help to educate other students. Along with the dangers of alcohol abuse, OSLA’s event will also focus on cultural differences regarding alcohol. Carla Proietti, a native Italian, works as a graduate assistant for the Office of Multicultural and International Student Programs. For Proietti and other international students she has talked with, drinking started at a young age and revolved more around family and culture than it appears to in the United States. “It’s not just ‘let’s go to the bar and get wasted,’” said Proietti. While Musco thinks that students should take advantage of this week dedicated to alcohol awareness, she feels that many students will not participate. “It’s their own decision and they know how it will affect them—or so they think,” said Musco.

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