WVU School of Public Health Promotes Students Safe and Responsible Behavior

A night out in Morgantown often includes alcohol, especially for West Virginia University students. The WVU School of Public Health reports more than 9,000 drinking and driving traffic fatalities in 2011, and some WVU students are trying to put a dent in that statistic.

"We want to provide alcohol awareness and promote condom use," said Samantha Shawley, a WVU student. "We have alcohol strips that test your alcohol level and we're handing out condoms."

On Thursday night, the WVU School of Public Health set up a table in the heart of downtown Morgantown. The purpose was to teach students safe and responsible behaviors. That includes everything from practicing safe sex to monitoring how much alcohol they drink.

"We know that people who are 21 can drink, we encourage them not to drink and drive," said Ruth Kershner, a professor in the School of Public of Health. "Especially, we encourage people not to drive with someone. They think that they're not driving but they don't worry about the other person."

The student volunteers showed other students who came up to the table what alcohol can do to your brain. The group handed out small personal alcohol tests, safe drink coasters that tell if any date rape drugs were placed in the drink, and condoms for National Contraceptive Day.

"I think people need to be aware with the consequences involved," said Shawley. "And providing them with these strips can inhibit bad behavior and hopefully promote them to get someone else to drive, or walk home, or take a taxi."

Kershner said that she believes one of the duties of the School of Public Health is to promote responsible and safe behaviors from students.

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