Root Beer Olympics

Pamela Peigler

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 Barq’s root-beer floats served as rewards during the Root Beer Olympics, organized by the Battle Alcohol Consequences (BAC) Squad, held on campus on Aug. 27. The BAC Squad is an organization in the Alcohol and Other Drugs Resource Center (AOD) at Western Illinois University, which aims to reduce harm caused by drugs and alcohol and calculate blood alcohol content. 

 “(The BAC Squad were) brainstorming some ideas to get alcohol education out to students and this is what they created,” said Debbie Collins, a medical assistant at the Beu Health Center.

 The event had many different activities such as using drunk-impairment goggles. One event had participants pouring what they thought were standard-sized drinks.

 Each person had to go to an educational table before earning their free float.

 Jessica Phillips, a sophomore finance major, went to the Root Beer Olympics for the first time and attempted to pour a standard-size alcoholic beverage.

 “Root beer is a really good way to get people to actually learn stuff about alcohol,” Phillips said. “I learned that a drink that you would normally drink (at a party) is more than a standard size would be, so what you pour yourself is a lot more.”

 Khalil Lightbourne, a sophomore electrical engineering major, also thought that the information was educational and that he could use it for the future. His favorite part of the olympics was driving the OPS golf cart around cones with drunk goggles on. 

 “It was fun,” Lightbourne said. “I thought I had it but it didn’t look as good as I thought. None of (the cones) fell, I just went past them or hit them with the tire.”

 Lightbourne also tested his luck playing bags with the goggles on. He was way off from where he thought the target was; next year he says he is going to come back to do it again.

 Another educational table had facts and the fines associated with alcohol.

 Christianne Spivey-Sampson, a junior business management major, found the fines the most interesting.

 “I overheard (Kaycee Peterman, AOD Prevention Coordinator) talking to someone else about fines so I went there first,” Spivey-Sampson said.

 Spivey-Sampson also learned about eating in correlation to drinking, and that when she is consuming alcohol it is better to eat before and while she is drinking.

 “I didn’t know you are supposed to eat while you drink too,” Spivey-Sampson said. “I usually don’t, because I am scared that I am going to throw up if I eat. (Peterman) said it had nothing to do with the food. It had to do with the alcohol consumption. That will definitely help me out when I am drinking.”

 The event was sponsored by Ball Fore, Diggers, McDonalds, Burger King, Rialto Cinemas and F.Y.I..

 There were also water bottles that they had from the SAPE grant. The SAPE grant is for substance abuse prevention education. The Beu helped supply the event with the root beer floats.

 Collins said that it is important for people to learn that responsible drinking does not have to rely on abstinence. 

 “I feel that even adults lack education on standard drink sizes,” Collins said. “We know some of the ways of being safe out there. In high school we are taught more of an abstinence driven type of thing. Here we have a harm reduction focus. We are educating you on ways of being safe, and that is important for everybody.”

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