Facing the facts:

On the fourth floor of the Residence Hall is a little booklet that contains facts about alcohol and the impact it can have on students and other young adults. The booklet is interactive, and students can flip through it at their leisure.

Photo by Collin Wedl

Building awareness

Laramie County Community College officials are stepping back and taking a look at issues still facing the college, especially alcohol.

Alcohol has always been a part of the college scene, which makes people like Jason Ostrowski, LCCC’s director of residential living and judicial affairs, want to help find solutions to this problem through the annual on-campus alcohol awareness week. Normally held Oct. 19–25, the event this year was scheduled in November.

Passionate about the week, Ostrowski said he believed it’s a vital program that helps teach students the dangers of alcohol and the impact its abuse has.

Ostrowski said the events that happen during the week are becoming annual ones such as the drunken driving course and the symbolic wall.

“We invite organizations within Cheyenne itself to offer the resources that are here in the community,” he said. Organizations such as the Laramie County Sheriff’s Department were scheduled with the drunken simulator, and organizations such as the Laramie County Coalition of Alcohol Problems to distribute information on Monday at the alcohol awareness fair. Ostrowski said such groups “do a lot of alcohol-type programs for the community. They have a lot of resources that will help if someone might be struggling with alcoholism.”

Ostrowski is especially satisfied with the T-shirts to be given away saying “1,800 Dead,” referring to the number of college students who die a year because of alcohol-related instances. Statistics like these are staggering, but Ostrowski said, “If people are going to drink, it’s our job to make them aware of the dangers, so they can be safe, protected and responsible.”

Ostrowski doesn’t condone anyone underage drinking, but he understands alcohol is widely accepted in the college life.

Ostrowski also said: “The perception is that when we go to college, we have to drink. We see this everywhere in the media, socially and out in the community, but in all reality most of our students are not drinking, and to reflect on situations before stepping out there into that atmosphere can help prevent alcohol-related deaths.”

Students to build symbolic wall for alcohol awareness

Perceptions such as these are what led Ostrowski to start the alcohol experience wall. Students will place an experience they had with alcohol on either a gray- or red-colored rectangle to resemble a brick. Red was for a negative experience, and gray was for a positive experience.

“Hopefully, as the wall was built, students saw that there were more red bricks than gray bricks,” Ostrowski said, “so students can really reflect and understand that alcohol can really have bad consequences. Alcohol really affects everyone in some shape or form.”

Officials of the college plan to keep alcohol awareness week an annual event, and Ostrowski sees the benefits in having it. The point Ostrowski wants the campus community to take away is to reflect on one another’s actions, and if the situation arises to choose whether to drink alcohol, he hoped students can make an informed and responsible choice.

National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence