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Risk Management Events To Encourage Students To Be ‘SAFE’

Aug. 23, 2013
SHSU Media Contact: Jennifer Gauntt

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Sam Houston State University will show new students and those returning to campus how to navigate some of the many risks they may encounter as college students with a series of activities designed to encourage responsible decision-making.

S.A.F.E. Week, Sept. 3-6, will address hazing, underage drinking, safe-driving practices, general campus safety practices, and resources offered by the campus and university police department.

“We are hosting the week to do our part to be proactive in preventing, or at least reducing, students from doing things that may harm themselves or others,” said Jerrell Sherman, assistant dean of students for Greek Life. “We also want to educate them on ways to help others live safely.

“The goal of each event is to educate students on ways to live a safer lifestyle, whether they are on or off campus, and to better help out their friends if they find themselves in situation that could threaten their safety or well-being,” he said.

The week will kick off on Tuesday, when Alcohol and Drug Abuse Initiative coordinator Eddie Gisemba will explore the consequences of “One Hammered Night,” from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the Lowman Student Center Mall Area.

“One Hammered Night” relates binge drinking to gambling, exploring the various and wide-ranging potential consequences students can face during a night out.

While on average, four students die each day in alcohol-related events, the “gamble” students take can lead to being arrested, getting into fights and vandalizing property, to short-term consequences such as vomiting, blacking out, and perhaps even nothing at all.

“The message is that when drinking, unexpected things happen. Some of these things may be funny or just require thorough cleaning but others carry very serious consequences,” he said. “Most importantly, if you engage in any of these behaviors and nothing bad has happened, it does not mean that it won’t; it just hasn’t happened yet.”

Because of this, the “One Hammered Night” isn’t developed to attempt to prevent students from drinking but simply advocates responsibility.

“A lot of alcohol programming presents students with an endless list of possible negative outcomes while ignoring a critical point: college students report having fun when they are drinking,” he said. “An article published last year showed that college binge drinkers report a more enjoyable and satisfying college experience than non-bingers.

“Despite the reported satisfaction in drinking, it’s important to note that a number of unfortunate events can occur,” he said. “I created this program because I felt that these methods could be more realistic and effective.”

On Wednesday, the Texas Department of Transportation will showcase the potentially fatal outcomes of drinking and driving during the Risk Management Activity Zone, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the LSC Mall Area.

The activity zone will include a driving simulator, fatal goggles and a rollover convincer, which demonstrates what happens to un-seat belted occupants when a vehicle turns over in an accident. TXDOT personnel will also hand out information on texting and driving and other forms of distracted driving.

That evening, Dean of Students John Yarabeck will share stories of risky incidents he’s witnessed both on and off campus and discuss some of the services provided by the university to help students be safer. The Campus Risk Management Workshop will begin at 5 p.m. in the LSC Theater.

Finally, on Thursday, keynote anti-hazing speaker Kim Novak, a national expert in student-focused risk management, will share with all student organizations issues and violations that can potentially crop up when any organization is accepting new members.

Her presentation will begin at 4:15 p.m. in the LSC Ballroom.

“Kim will bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to the Sam Houston State University community,” Sherman said. “With college students across the nation continuously being involved in many risk management issues, SHSU’s Greek Life office wants to be proactive in educating not only the SHSU Greek community, but all SHSU students on the proper risk management practices they should adopt for their safety.

“Kim has presented at national conferences and on campuses around the country on a variety of topics including: effective accountability models, critical decision-making strategies, hazing prevention, current issues in higher education law and policy, campus safety efforts that engage students, as well as proactive risk management.”

For more information on S.A.F.E Week events, contact Sherman, at 936.294.1785 or jsherman@shsu.edu, or Gisemba at 936.294.2228 or emg020@shsu.edu.



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