California State University Chancellor Timothy P. White committed to roll-out the Aware Awake Alive peer-to-peer program to all 23 campuses as another tool for identifying and acting on the symptoms of alcohol poisoning. The chancellor also committed that the CSU would translate the program materials into Spanish and that student leaders would receive training in the program from the team at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.
These commitments were made during the CSU Board of Trustees meeting on July 23, 2013, as the chancellor and trustees reviewed the sixth biennial report on Campus Alcohol Education and Prevention Programs.
The board, students, faculty, staff, alumni and members of the public heard from Scott and Julia Starkey, the parents of Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo freshman Carson Starkey who died of alcohol poisoning in 2008 at 18 years old. The parents co-founded the Aware Awake Alive nonprofit to ensure the prevention of needless alcohol-related tragedy becomes a lasting legacy of their son.
“You said Carson’s life ended and his legacy began, but it’s also now your legacy,” said CSU Chancellor White to Scott and Julia Starkey. “Perhaps our action will be one more step toward making his death, and all it represents to so many other families, a little bit less painful.”
Empowering Students to Make the Call
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in three college students binge drink. A 2005 study from Dr. Ralph Hingson of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) projects that a college student (age 18 to 24) dies every 44 hours from alcohol poisoning in the United States.
The Aware Awake Alive program is already empowering CSU students on eight campuses – San Luis Obispo, Chico, Fresno, Long Beach, Northridge, San Bernardino, San Diego and San José – to make the right call when faced with an alcohol poisoning medical emergency. Cal Poly Pomona is preparing to incorporate the program into its alcohol awareness and education efforts next year.
Aware Awake Alive communicates to high school and college students directly with a “Drunk or dying?” message that is simple, actionable and non-judgmental. Web-based tools are designed to be intuitive and simple to use for young people and those who influence them, like parents and teachers.
Free resources are available via awareawakealive.org/toolbox and the program engages youth through social media. When confronted with real-life situations, DrunkOrDying.mobi provides a 3-click decision tree for peers with web-enabled phones to help identify alcohol poisoning symptoms and take proper action.
About the California State University
The California State University is the largest system of senior higher education in the country, with 23 campuses, approximately 427,000 students and 44,000 faculty and staff. The CSU awards over 95,000 degrees annually and since its creation in 1961 has conferred nearly 2.6 million.
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