Alcohol poisoning reported on campus

by Mindy Marks

Paramedics were called to campus last weekend for a reported alcohol poisoning and police arrested an individual on campus for public intoxication.

According to Chris Frerichs, director of campus security, they are looking into these incidents and investigating what happened.

Alcohol abuse is often the center of many health and safety problems on college campuses.

Frerichs said that there have been approximately 15 liquor law violations since the start of the school year, which is above normal.

According to the Simpson College Campus Security and Safety Report, there was a jump in liquor law violations from 45 in 2000, to 63 in 2001. The liquor law violations are reports given by resident assistants, area coordinators, security staff and reports that come in to the security office.

“This year the first year students seem to be more social and into the party scene, which makes it more challenging to keep [alcohol] out of the residence halls,” said Ann Swenson, a junior resident assistant.

Resident assistants often try to make students aware of the rules, policies and consequences within their residence halls to deter alcohol violations. Another tactic they use involves informational bulletin boards as intervention. After the first time a student is caught with alcohol, that student will be fined and required to take a four-hour online course entitled “Alcohol Response-Ability.”

“This [course] is one of the best in the nation. We are one of the leading small colleges because we are utilizing the program,” said Frerichs.

The course requirement is new and takes students through realistic situations. The course is interactive, asking students questions about drinking habits. Also, students must pass a quiz without missing any to complete the course.

Simpson hopes to combat potential problems by actively participating in National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week, Oct. 20-Oct. 26. Throughout the week students may find out informative results from the core survey taken by students last spring. For example, 76.2 percent of college students have not performed poorly on a test or project because of alcohol or drug use, according to core survey results.

The messages will be distributed to students in the form of student identification card holders, posters and coffee mugs. Students will also be given Frisbees, magnetic paper holders, key chains and pens with positive statistics. During the awareness campaign, the Iowa State Patrol will have a booth with drunk driving and safety information.

For three years, Jay Hoppe, medical student at Des Moines University, has given Simpson students various health related presentations.

“If individuals choose to consume, my goal is to make their decision based upon credible information, both for their own wellness and the safety and well-being of others in the community,” said Hoppe.

His interactive presentations often have a touch of humor when discussing issues such as how the body handles the consumption of alcohol, differences between the sexes, medication interactions and a physiologic explanation of behavior while consuming alcohol. Hoppe’s presentations are to help students make better decisions.

“You always need to make sure people know the effects of alcohol, but especially here with first year students and with homecoming coming up,” said Amber Dickey, Picken hall director.