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By Jenna Campbell
UW-RF University Communications

DEC. 2, 2005--College life around the nation has been linked to binge drinking for the past several decades. The 1978 classic comedy film, "Animal House," did much to stereotype Greek frat house life in popular culture, and now campuses are trying to break those labels.

Greek life at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls is striving to create awareness of the dangers of alcohol consumption by sponsoring a new Responsible Drinking Series.

The series headlines with a presentation called "Drink Think," which will be on Dec. 6 at 7 p.m. in the North Hall Auditorium. An ambulance will be parked on the front lawn of the Hagestad Student Center the same day of "Drink Think" to create awareness. The ambulance will have its lights on, and there will be a resources and information for students, faculty, staff and community members.

Rick Barnes, who has been a featured speaker at more that 400 college campuses on the topic of alcohol awareness, will be the keynote speaker at the "Drink Think" presentation.

Barnes has served numerous leadership roles through international associations and has more than 18 years of experience in higher education.

The goal of the presentation is to be, "a frank, non-preachy talk about the choices every college student faces today about the use or non-use of alcohol," says Barnes. This program is uses interactive multi-media to reach students. Barnes says he strives to have his presentation come off as an adult-adult conversation. He acknowledges the real life decisions that students face and encourages them to make the best choices.  

  The next event of the series is a Dec. 14 discussion at 7 p.m. in the President's room at the Hagestad Student Center held by UW-RF student and Greek organization member Ryan Stovern of Cameron, Wis.

He will address the signs of alcohol poisoning and the signs of each stage of alcohol poisoning. Stovern will discuss the different blood alcohol levels along with how they can be detected by simply looking at a person.

"I'm motivated to speak about alcohol, because is I grew up around it and I know what it does to families and friends," says Stovern. "It can wreck a lot of things that people have going good in their lives."

The Greek life groups on campus, specifically the groups of Inner Fraternity Council (IFC), Weeks of Wellness (WOW), Panhellenic, and Cascade will be sponsoring this series. The IFC is the primary sponsor.

"We hope students will take this opportunity to become more informed of the effects of alcohol on their health, school, friendships, and life in general," says Sean Blackburn, UW-RF student organization coordinator. "Rick's presentation has been described as non-preachy, and we hope this approach will be more welcoming to students than scare tactics. This program was selected by students and sponsored by many student organizations. It's great to see the students take this difficult topic on in a responsible and practical way."



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