AU Takes Preventive Approach to Student Alcohol Use
Incoming Freshmen To Experience DUI Simulator
AU’s incoming freshmen, as part of a weeklong series of activities, will attend an event to raise awareness of the dangers of alcohol and drinking and driving on Tuesday, August 19 from 7–10 p.m. at the FUSION Warehouse, according to Leigh Columbo, the recently-hired coordinator of the Drive Smart Program. The program is aimed at reducing teenage alcohol use and drinking and driving and is funded through a grant from the South Carolina Office of Highway Safety.
Officers from the Anderson City Police Department and the Anderson and Oconee County Sheriffs’ Departments will be there to guide students as they experience a DUI simulator, which simulates the driving impairments brought on by various levels of blood alcohol content. Other activities include an impact video and simulated sobriety field tests, where the students learn firsthand what it is like to be arrested and appear before a judge.
Also on hand to assist will be representatives from Sober or Slammer, a statewide DUI enforcement education campaign spearheaded by the South Carolina Department of Public Safety, and the BATmobile, a S.C. breath alcohol testing mobile unit.
Through the Drive Smart program, AU aims to take a preventive approach to educate new students about the dangers of alcohol and drinking and driving. “Many new college students test their independence and experiment with risk-taking decisions, especially those involving alcohol,” says Colombo. “We are taking the opportunity during Anderson University’s Welcome Week for our new students to become familiar with the dangers and consequences of drinking alcohol and driving under the influence, or getting in a car with someone who has been drinking. Once the students go through our DUI and arrest simulation, we hope our students will have the tools necessary to avoid alcohol consumption and DUI situations.”
Other activities of the Drive Smart Program include partnerships with four area high schools— Wren, Palmetto, T.L. Hanna, and Westside—to offer education on the effects of alcohol to their students as well. Events to benefit the students at these high schools, which are planned throughout the school year, will also meet at the FUSION Warehouse. Additional partnerships with local and county police departments, area health agencies, and the public schools will provide a variety of programs and activities to convey the message to local teens.