Several new initiatives to limit potential harm for Northern Arizona University students caused by alcohol will take effect this year, school officials said.
NAU officials are making a greater effort to guide students away from alcohol after hearing from a task force on student safety, the Arizona Daily Sun reported.
The NAU Student Safety Task Force’s report lists six areas that need addressing including alcohol use, sexual assault and safety for pedestrians and cyclists.
“Alcohol kind of creeps into a lot of these – maybe all of them,” said NAU Director of Residence Life Cynthia Anderson, co-chair of the task force. “There is this thing about the young adult period and a certain amount of social normalizing of alcohol use by college students even if they’re not of legal age.”
According to the report, students say they need more alcohol-free activities to choose from.
“They didn’t call it that, of course, but they said they needed stuff to do and they needed to know more about those kinds of opportunities. I was surprised by that,” NAU Health Promotion Manager Melissa Griffin said.
School officials say a recreation room at the student union will be rebranded as a new, late-night hangout space. The Hub will offer trivia games, karaoke, football-viewing parties and other activities.
The campus will also renew promotion efforts for its Safe Ride bus, which drives students from downtown bars back to campus. The routes of the shuttle have been added to a GPS tracking app that students use to find out where on-campus buses are. In addition, students who are designated drivers will be able to get free soda at local bars as part of the Students Only Driving Absolutely Sober, or SODAS, program.
NAU Health Promotions has also started a “21st Birthday Card” program. Students get dining coupons and safe-drinking tips when they turn 21.
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