SUNY-ESF

After opening this fall, SUNY-ESF’s counseling center hosts first alcohol awareness week

Delaney Kuric | Head Illustrator

SUNY-ESF had zero liquor law arrests and seven drug law arrests in 2015 but had 48 drug law referrals and 93 liquor law referrals, according to the 2015 Campus Security and Fire Safety Report.

Thomas LeRoy pointed to a totaled car from a DWI crash on display outside of SUNY-ESF’s Gateway Center.

“It could’ve been you, or me, or anyone,” said LeRoy, the police department chief at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. “Thank God it wasn’t, but it could’ve been.”

The car on display — which was from a DWI crash two weeks ago in Manlius, New York — was part of a series of alcohol-awareness events last week at SUNY-ESF.

The events, which included tabling, open discussions and a “mocktail” party, were hosted by Ruth Larson, director of SUNY-ESF’s counseling services. SUNY-ESF’s Counseling Center opened this fall because the school no longer uses Syracuse University Health Services.

“We’ve had at least 30 to 40 people stop by the table each day and actually talk to us and take pamphlets, which they don’t usually do so it’s a good sign,” Larson said.

In addition to running an information table, a course was set up where students could ride a bike through a set of traffic cones with “beer goggles” on to show what driving under the influence would be like.

“Not that I would ever do it, but trying to ride the bike with the goggles just made me realize how hard and dangerous it would be to drive,” said Hannah Pilkey, a senior conservation biology major.

“My vision and sense of depth was completely altered,” said Aaron Keegan, a junior environmental studies major who also tried the bike. “I hit each of the cones and moved them like an inch and a half, which would be a lot if it were a person.”

SUNY-ESF had zero liquor law arrests and seven drug law arrests in 2015 but had 48 drug law referrals and 93 liquor law referrals, according to the 2015 Campus Security and Fire Safety Report.

“We do have alcohol and drug problems, and we’ve had our fair share of alcohol arrests and referrals,” Larson said. “Even though ESF is a small school, we’re pretty in line with the national average.”

Larson, who previously worked at Sheridan College in Wyoming, said she has been working closely with the staff at Centennial Hall, SUNY-ESF’s residential building, and plans to provide programming on topics such as stress management, suicide prevention and AIDS.

LeRoy, the police chief, said he thinks having a Counseling Center just for SUNY-ESF students will make a difference, because a lot of students didn’t always use counseling services when they had to go over to SU, he said.

“Now, when they see the counseling staff at events like this, it’s a familiar face which makes people feel more comfortable and actually want to go to the Counseling Center,” LeRoy said.

With events from the Counseling Center like this one now specific to SUNY-ESF students, LeRoy said he hopes those messages will reach more students.

“It’s college — we know it’s happening,” LeRoy said. “But we’re just trying to get ahead of the problem by giving students information and showing them what could happen.”

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