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26 October 2007

This Week, Some JSU Students Learn
What It’s Like to Have Too Much to Drink

Amy Anderson wears goggles that distort vision. Jacksonville State students were trying out the goggles for National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week. Photo: Bill Wilson/The Anniston Star

By Matt Kasper
Star Staff Writer

Reprinted here in its entirety.

She couldn’t walk the line and dropped the ball. Blame it on the fatal vision goggles.

Amber Cunningham, a Jacksonville State University sophomore, was one of many artificially impaired students Wednesday partaking in activities for alcohol awareness week.

Participants at the site in the Merrill Hall lobby were told to walk down a line of blue masking tape, wearing goggles adjusted to reflect vision influenced by alcohol.

Cunningham, like other students, was not successful.

“I feel embarrassed,” she said, after failing to grab a ball a peer educator rolled her way.

It was a surprising reaction, Cunningham said, “because with the glasses it made it seem like you were OK, but you weren’t.”

Which is the point, said Adam Green, a counselor and advisor for JSU Peer Educators.

He said the activity is always popular with students because they are caught off guard by their reactions.

“They try to overcompensate or under compensate,” Green said.

By noon, almost 400 students had signed cards pledging not to drink and drive, he said.

On Tuesday, people were given the opportunity to calculate their blood alcohol level with the Intoxiclock, a new feature for alcohol awareness week that Green said was popular.

The week will conclude with a candlelight vigil Thursday night in remembrance of people who have died because of drunken driving.

For Ricky Naugher, director of the peer educator program, interactive education is the most effective way to teach people about the dangers of alcohol.

There are no guarantees people will become more responsible about drinking because of alcohol awareness week, said Keena Perkins, a JSU junior who serves as a peer educator.

But she said she considers part of the group’s role to be a constant reminder so people don’t forget about alcohol abuse.

When she goes out with friends at night and sees red pledge cards in their wallets, it’s encouraging, she said.

About Matthew Kasper

Matthew Kasper covers Jacksonville, Piedmont, Ohatchee and Alexandria for the Star.

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