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Luau entertains, educates students on substance abuse

A pre-spring break luau entertained students while educating them on the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse.

The event took place March 1 in the Bovee University Center Rotunda and was organized by Campus Health Advocates Motivating Peers (CHAMP) and Central Michigan Collegiate Recovery, Education and Wellness (CMCREW).

“Many social events that students attend outside of their normal classes tend to have alcohol, and more often than not students engage in risky behaviors during these events,” said Hailey Zacharski, the president of CHAMP. “We want to highlight the reality behind these behaviors.”

RSOs that participated include Safer Sex Patrol, Sexual Aggression Peer Advocates and Eta Sigma Gamma, a national health education honorary.

Attendees conversed and played games related to drug and alcohol abuse. A panel discussion was held afterward featuring professional counselors and individuals recovering from alcoholism.

“Not every story is the same,” said panelist Jessica Miller, a counselor for Ten16 who has firsthand experience with alcohol addiction. “I was quite the rule follower when I was younger. When I got away to college, that’s when the floodgates opened for me. I know when I was in college, I would have benefitted from a program like this.”

Among the panelists was CMU student Isaac Dieterman, who shared a recovery story of his own.

“They call alcoholism an allergy of the body and an addiction of the mind,” Dieterman said.

“The best you can do [for someone struggling with addiction] is tell them what’s available,” said panelist Chris Beechler, an outpatient therapist for Ten16.

CMCREW offers counseling services in Robinson Hall to those struggling with addiction and mental illness. Addiction counseling is available to students at no charge.