LETTERS

Mock car captivates campus attention

An opinion article recently ran about the legitimacy of events and presentations put on during Alcohol Awareness Week. It is quite possible that the majority of students have not been significantly impacted by the presence of a vehicle that was destroyed as a result of a drunk driver. It is also quite possible that a large group of people do not believe in the legitimacy of such a presentation.

The fact that people stopped to view the car is a success in itself. For one moment, those students stopped to think about the consequences of their actions when they get behind the wheel after drinking. If one individual who would have driven drunk saw the vehicle and decided to get a designated driver, then its presence was a success. If one accident was averted, then the its presence was a success. If one life was saved, then the performance was a success. I am not saying students will stop drinking or driving under the influence, but perhaps some students will make wiser choices. It is an inexpensive program to put on, and it deserves to be brought to campus simply because it could not hurt to have it.

To question the legitimacy of the destroyed car is to question the reason it was brought to campus. People died in that vehicle as a result of a drunk driver, and not once were those individuals mentioned in the article criticizing the program. The presence of the vehicle proves that those individuals did not die in vain and people should be exposed to their story. Those people who died deserve to have their story shared. If one wishes to discuss reality, that destroyed vehicle is almost as real as it gets.

It could be argued that while the car is striking, it might not necessarily produce significant results. Once again, my opinion is that if one person is shocked into altering their driving habits, then the program was a success. Placing that aside, let us say that other more successful programs exist. Not one of those programs were mentioned in the article. The author took a lot of time to criticize the programs put on, as well as the people who put a lot of effort into putting them on, but failed to provide useful alternatives.

Students who feel that current programs are ineffective should take the time to do their homework, join the organizations involved and suggest changes to programming that they feel will be more effective. This would be a more constructive manner in which to confront any doubts rather than assume students who walk by the performance are completely unaffected and that organizations on campus are only looking to pat themselves on the back.

I would like to take the opportunity to thank the organizations involved in Alcohol Awareness Week as well as the family of those who died for their efforts in placing the vehicle on campus. I encourage others who feel programming could be improved to put the same time and effort into improving events and performances. Kevin Schroeck Alcohol Awareness Week’s criticism lacks constructive advice It has recently come to the attention of the organizers of Alcohol Awareness Week that some students on campus were not impressed and greatly discouraged by our “Puritan-era prohibitionist” tactics in spreading awareness of the dangers of the over-consumption of alcohol and drunk driving. To those in question we ask: Do you think you could do any better?

It is so easy today for those hiding behind their computer screens and blogs to critique and criticize the efforts of others without offering any sort of constructive criticism or advice. How effortlessly our generation’s fingers can maliciously fly over black plastic keys without once really thinking about the topic upon which their harsh and bombastic words fall.

Yes, shock value is a common tactic used to instill fear and mandate appropriate social behavior, but reducing an entire week’s worth of hard work and effort to the “pointless theatrics” of a “demolished Toyota” is completely unfair and undermining toward the hard work put forth by the coordinators of Alcohol Awareness Week.

The mangled car found sitting in front of the Brower Student Center was placed there for shock value. What’s even more shocking is the story of how the car got demolished in the first place, located conveniently right next to the car on a bright white and blue post. Wrecked cars taken from drunk-driving accidents are a standard practice among anti-drunk driving campaigns all over the country and aren’t used to merely scare people, but to open their eyes to the reality of what drunk driving can lead to.

If a wrecked car isn’t empowering enough to make students think twice about driving under the influence, then perhaps founder of the HERO Campaign Bill Elliot’s speech about losing his son to a drunk driver may motivate you a bit more. If people care so much about drunk driving and responsible drinking to take the time to publicly complain about the “ineffectiveness” of Alcohol Awareness Week, then perhaps they should have taken the time to attend the other events hosted that week or join SADD.

The purpose of Alcohol Awareness Week isn’t to try and abolish the use of alcohol, but to encourage students to drink responsibly and warn them of the risks in abusing alcohol. It’s called Alcohol Awareness Week to inform students with statistical information, speeches and real-life demonstrations that alcohol can be dangerous if not used responsibly. Everyone knows that drunk driving is wrong, but when you have the ugly truth of it directly in your face, the harsh reality becomes all the more apparent.

What’s even more upsetting than hearing callous disparagements of a positive and meaningful campaign like Alcohol Awareness Week is the lack of constructive criticism and sound advice coming from the mouths of these detractors. This has become a rather serious issue in today’s world of blogging, where anyone with a keyboard and an Internet connection can say whatever they want behind the safety of a computer screen, without actually knowing anything about what they’re talking about.

Complaining about the world with no suggestions of improvement only aides in promoting an air of negativity. How can we better ourselves if we are so quick to judge others with reckless abandon? Instead of wasting your breath crying about how something is ineffective, you could spend your time being constructive and offering feedback to make said efforts even more efficient. Everyone in the world has two cents to put in, but are you willing to spend a little more silver and actually do something about it? In the long run, the miserable and unproductive complaints toward something as important and meaningful as Alcohol Awareness Week can be summed up with the saying, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.”

Bryan Lutz