October 11, 2005
Mike Stepanovich, 661/654-2456, firstname.lastname@example.org,
or Jaclyn Loveless, 661/654-2138, email@example.com
California State University, Bakersfield’s award-winning program Oksoberfest is scheduled Oct. 17-21 on campus to raise awareness of alcohol abuse and to promote a responsible approach to alcoholic-beverage consumption.
Several activities are planned during the week, said LaShawn Barefield, a counselor in the CSUB Counseling Center, and Erika Delamar, health educator in CSUB’s Student Health Center.
It’s part of a national movement on college campuses to raise the awareness of the effects of alcohol on people, and to promote responsible drinking among those who chose to consume alcoholic beverages.
Oksoberfest has taken on greater importance as at least two campuses within the CSU – San Diego and Chico – have experienced student deaths due to alcohol abuse. CSU Chancellor Charles Reed has made alcohol awareness a priority within the CSU system.
“The event is part of the national Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week, so all the different campuses get together and offer educational and alcohol-abuse prevention programs,” Barefield said. “This is an issue that not only affects a lot of college students, but also affects different members of the community. So through Oksoberfest, we want to raise the awareness of both the campus and greater Bakersfield community. We want to let students know there are alternatives to drinking. If you’re 21 or older we want to encourage you to drink responsibly if you choose to drink. And if alcoholism is a problem, we want to let people know that there is help out there and treatment for them.”
Delamar echoed Barfield. “A big part of Oksoberfest is that we want to promote responsible drinking for those old enough to drink, and that means choosing a designated driver, not drinking and driving, and even limiting alcohol intake,” she said. “We also work with the Greek organizations (fraternities and sororities) and talk to them about responsible party hosting, what the liabilities are and what they need to consider as a host.”
One of the objectives of Oksoberfest is to decrease by 5 percent alcohol-related misconduct by CSUB students, the two said. “We’re conducting a needs assessment to establish the baseline drinking patterns, then later we will do another to see if we met our goals,” Barefield said.
“The average age of our student body has fallen from about 28 in 1997 to about 22 today, so that’s one of the reasons for the study.”
According to the CSUB annual crime report for 2004, CSUB’s main campus had nine liquor-law violations, up from one in 2003, but still less than the
14 reported in 2002. CSUB’s Antelope Valley campus in Lancaster had six liquor-law violations reported during 2004.
“We’re in the process of developing a peer-education program, too,”
Barefield said. “Studies show that students really listen to their peers when it comes to alcohol issues. Students presenting alcohol-education information to their peers has proven to be really effective.”
CSUB Oksoberfest program was launched in 2001 with $25,000 grant from the CSU Chancellor’s Office to develop alcohol-abuse prevention programs. Each of the 23 CSU campuses received a grant to get the programs going, Barefield said.
In 2002, CSUB’s program received a $1,000 Drinking and Driving Prevention Award from the American Automobile Association, the only CSU campus to receive that award.
In 2005, CSUB received a $42,668 Alcohol and Traffic Safety Grant from California Office of Traffic Safety to continue the program.
The schedule of Oksoberfest activities is:
For more information please call Delamar at (661) 654-3453, or Barefield at (661) 654-3366.
- Monday, Oct. 17
– “Tie One On For Safety: Red Ribbon Kick-off Day,” outside the student union, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
– “Mocktail Night,” dorm dining commons, 5 p.m.
- Tuesday, Oct. 18
– “Carpe Keep ’em – Seize the Keys” barbecue – free barbecue and beverages, and learn how to seize the keys from someone who has been drinking, Runner Park, 11 a.m.
- Wednesday, Oct. 19
– “How Visually Impaired Are You?” Learn about the dangers of mixing alcohol with driving, Donahoe Hall Galleria, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
– “No Time To Say Goodbye – A Mother’s Story of Loss at the Hands of a Drunken Driver,” Dezember Center Executive Seminar room 402, 7 p.m.
- Thursday, Oct. 20
– “Wheel of Misfortune – Don’t Gamble With Your Health,” Donahoe Hall Galleria, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
– Alcohol Jeopardy, dorm dining commons, 7 p.m.
- Friday, Oct. 21
– “The Drinks Are on Us!” Free non-alcoholic smoothies, Runner Park, 10 a.m.