by Esther Brown | Staff Writer
The Hixson Union Building dining hall was transformed into a 20’s style dance for alcohol awareness with decorations, mocktails and a dance floor on the evening of Sept. 28. The dance was named after a not so well-known room in the HUB that was removed last year. Now where Educational Support Services resides, George’s Place was a lounge area that could be reserved for meetings and conferences.
The event’s secret entrance coincides with the fact that “nobody really knew George’s Place existed, and here we are, almost giving it brand new life,” said Haley Williamson, resident director of Warren Hall and co-coordinator of the event.
In addition to finding the secret door, students had to present the password in order to enter the dance. The password was reciting three facts about alcohol or marijuana that were printed on the event posters around campus.
Students had a variety of activities they could participate in. There were three stations set up upon entering the event. First was taking a spin at the wheel of alcohol, an interactive game about alcohol consumption. Students learned about the correct alcohol consumption to their body weight and how much alcohol is contained in different drinks.
Next was the Green Dot station. If students were handed a napkin with a red dot on it, they had to return to the Green Dot station to participate in a scenario. Students then needed to explain how they would respond by choosing one of the three D’s: dictate, delegate, or distract. If students gave an appropriate answer, they won a prize.
Lastly was the Health Education Action Team (HEAT) where students learned about various marijuana products and guessed their function for the consumer. The table featured edibles, nicotine fluid, electronic cigarettes and more.
“A lot of the products are very deceiving,” said Anya Nordling, HEAT member. “A lot of them aren’t FDA regulated.”
Students then entered the main room, where they had the option of dancing and getting a mocktail from the “bartenders,” who were staff and RA volunteers.
“I love it,” Abigail Ferenz, a freshman, said in regards to the event. “I came
because it was 1920’s themed and I love the Great Gatsby.”
Several students said they learned new information from having to memorize facts for the password.
Student Life is required by a federal mandate to put efforts toward educating about alcohol and its effects on education and environment. In the past, this has primarily been through resident assistant (RA) meetings, such as prime times or hall events.
However, last year, the resident directors came up with an idea of creating a dance as a “more fun version of alcohol awareness” to promote to students as a larger group, said Krista Maroni, resident director of Duvall Hall and co-coordinator.
The goal of the dance was to create a fun environment where students could enjoy themselves and learn about safe behaviors. The coordinators hoped to educate students about ideas that are usually learnt through negative experiences so that students can look out for one another.
“It’s not about judgement or assuming the worst,” Maroni said, “But it is about knowing when you are aware about alcohol and marijuana and its effects on your body, you’re better prepared to make healthy decisions.”
“Even if you come away with one more piece of knowledge, that’s a success to us,” Maroni said.