HOPE stops risky business

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March 2, 2011

8:29 PM

Instead of losing better judgment, motor coordination and decision-making abilities the Thursday night before spring break, The College of William and Mary’s Health Outreach Peer Educators’ is hosting an event to give students the chance to have all the fun sometimes associated with high-risk drinking without any of the negative health consequences of drinking.

On Thursday, students can head over to the Tidewater Room in Sadler Center to partake in HOPE’s Tribe Tropics, a pre-spring break party with activities, games, free food and absolutely no substance abuse. Some people believe that spring break, and the week before, can lead to high-risk celebration for students.

“This event gives people who don’t really want to participate in that a place to go and have fun,” said Danielle Noriega, who as the Vice President of the Sexual Health branch of HOPE and an intern with the Office of Health Education is in charge of running the event, Tribe Tropics. “It has the party atmosphere but still teaches you things you can actually use.”

HOPE is broken up into four branches — Sexual Health, Substance Abuse, Sexual Assault and Mental Health — each of which will be in charge of two booths at Tribe Tropics with activities pertaining to their particular focus of health education. Sexual Health will be hosting condom pong, a game similar to the higher-risk beer pong with the twist that students aim a ball into a bowl full of condoms, all of which are received if the shot is made.

Mental Health will have a craft station to help relieve stress and promote its message. One Substance Abuse booth will feature beer goggle twister.

“We’ll have three or four contestants each put on a pair of beer goggles that distort one’s vision in a similar way as alcohol would, and then play twister,” Jonathan Marlton, Substance Abuse VP, said. “It’s a fun event to help add perspective to excessive drinking.”

The second Substance Abuse booth will have a ring toss game, in which contestants will attempt to toss rings over glass beer bottles containing facts about alcohol consumption. The fact in the bottle closest to the thrown ring will be read, and if a contestant manages to get a ring over a bottle will win an edible prize.

In its fourth year of operation Tribe Tropics is being managed mainly by HOPE, with help from a few other organizations. The Student Assembly is helping fund the event, and is also being supervised by OHE.

“OHE is mostly involved through HOPE,” Noriega said. “The messages adhere to them, but it’s totally student run.”

Although HOPE is promoting healthy decision making, Tribe Tropics’s ultimate aim is not to tell students how to live their lives. Instead, HOPE is trying to remind students that there are ways to have fun without engaging in risky behavior. And even if students choose to partake in these high-risk activities over the break, Tribe Tropics hopes to help them make the smartest decisions possible while away from school.

“HOPE events like Tribe Tropics are designed for students to have fun and learn something,” Marlton said. “We are not here to tell anyone not to drink or have sex, but rather we want to educate students about lower risk strategies so they end up having more fun.”

Marlton added that the event will offer an alternative to Thursday-night partying by students.

“Tribe Tropics is a great opportunity to have a good time, get some free food, and learn a few helpful things in a fun, unimposing way,” Marlton said.

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