By Jaykob Smith
On Tuesday, Feb. 28, the Student Life and Conduct Department held its first in what they hope to be a series of events on drugs and alcohol, Alcohol and Me.
This event was presented and created by Alyssa Gamez, a coordinator for Student Life and Conduct here at Grand Rapids Community College.
During the event, Gamez covered a wide variety of topics on alcohol use including the physical effects it has on the body, the culture of college drinking, and many harm reduction strategies that students can use while consuming alcohol.
Gamez’s harm reduction strategies include choosing not to use alcohol. When going out to drink an individual always has the ability to choose whether they want to drink or not.
Other safety tips include:
Spacing your drinks. When choosing to consume alcohol, one should take their time with their drinks rather than binge drinking.
Avoid mixing drugs. While under the influence of alcohol, using other drugs can cause serious harm to a person’s physical well being.
Less is more. The more someone drinks the more the alcohol can physically damage their brain and on their body.
Know your limits. Everyone experiences different effects when under the influence. One of the best things someone can do is to limit themselves so they don’t over do it.
Gamez also recommends that people stick to the standard ounces per drink so they can easily regulate how much they have consumed. A standard pour of wine is five ounces, a tall can of beer is twelve ounces, and the standard pour for liquor is one and a half ounces.
Many people believe nationwide that college is a place where drinking occurs heavily and regularly. When asked if Gamez would agree with this sentiment she responded, “There’s not a black and white answer.”
Gamez says that if you are someone who is older or is someone who is off campus then yes that view is understandable.
“A four-year institution…where you’re living on campus and you have a different setup than you do here at GRCC… sure, there is more of an expectation among the students,” Gamez said.
However, she said she doesn’t see that type of pressure here at GRCC.
Ultimately Gamez strives to attain what she calls “a culture of care” on campus. While she is just starting out, Gamez is taking the first steps into a broader discussion about alcohol. Gamez said she is trying to get her finger on the pulse and is searching to see where the conversation on student health and well being can be taken.
On the topic of alcohol specifically, Gamez said, “When we are talking about the perceptions of alcohol use, obviously, it changes and ebbs and flows with society. Even 20 years ago the conversation about alcohol…it’s a little bit different than it is now.”
Gamez also stated that she would be eager and willing to hear any questions that anyone has for her and she is open to suggestions for upcoming events. You can contact her directly using her email, firstname.lastname@example.org. Alternatively, you can contact the Student Life and Conduct department at their email email@example.com, by phone (616) 234-4160, or you can stop by their office.
Here is the Drug and Alcohol Policy at GRCC.