Alcohol Awareness Week highlights St. Patrick's Day

Mercyhurst College students will have plenty to do for St. Patrick's Day, with activities ranging from hypnotism to a remembrance service to a casino night when an XBox 360 game station will be the top prize.

The slate of activities is part of Alcohol Awareness Week organized by Mercyhurst College Office of the Student Union and Student Activities, Campus Ministry, and the Student Activities Council. The week gives students an alternative to alcohol-intensive partying that could lead to destructive behavior.

Sarah Allen, assistant director of the Student Union and student activities at Mercyhurst, said the intent of the activities planned for March 16-17 explained the plan.

"We care about the choices our students are making. We want to give them a real alternative that will be fun," she said.

The highlight of the activities is Casino Night on Friday, March 17, at the college Student Union from 9:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. The event will feature a DJ, free food and a list of prizes topped off by the XBox 360 video game station.

The night before, on March 16 at 8:30 p.m., students can get hypnotized at the Mary D'Angelo Performing Arts Center stage. Hypnotist Keith Karkut will have fun with the student volunteers and ultimately hypnotize them into thinking they are drunk.

"This is an alcohol awareness program and Keith Karkut's hypnosis of the students will demonstrate the risky behavior people do when they are drunk," Allen said.

Daytime activities are planned, too.

The week’s activities will kick off Wednesday, March 15, at the Student Union. Between 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. students can sign pledges to make safe and healthy choices regarding alcohol. Those who sign get a red Alcohol Awareness wrist band and an alcohol risk card that describes levels of intoxication and what steps a concerned person can do to help.

Students will have the opportunity to sign pledges Wednesday through Friday during those hours.

At noon, Friday, March 17, Campus Ministry will hold a Remembrance Ceremony at the Student Union for all those who have been affected by alcohol. A special remembrance will be offered for Matthew Milgate, the Mercyhurst College student who was killed March 17, 2005, in a traffic accident near the entrance to the college campus.

"We want to offer the opportunity for healing to students who have suffered an alcohol-related tragedy themselves or know someone who has," said Paul Macosko, one of the Mercyhurst College campus ministers. "And we want to recognize that it was one year ago that day that the tragedy involving Matthew Milgate occurred."

Following the ceremony, students can enjoy a free lunch of corned beef sandwiches, tuna salad sandwiches and more. The Celtic music band Ischabaha will perform during the lunch and there will be a raffle where students can win free passes to the Erie Playhouse, Splash Lagoon, Erie Zoo, Erie Otters, Erie Seawolves and Evan's Skateland.
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