Students Pledge Safety, Fun Over Break

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Saftey Pledge
Students promise to have a safe spring break by signing their names on pledges outside of the cafe (Melissa Stihl|Foghorn)

Katrina pledged to wear sunblock and bug repellent. Anastasia pledged to surf and eat plenty of avocados. Kathleen pledged to smoke less. For the second year now, Whole Students, Whole Campus (WSWC) asked students to pledge their commitment to having a safe spring break.

Whole Students, Whole Campus, sponsored by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, has implemented the pledge program to encourage students to think about the risks of consuming and abusing alcohol. Grant Coordinator Florentina Dobrin said of the program, “The idea was to get students to think about their activities over break and just to pick one safe activity. It’s to get them to think about having fun without alcohol, fun without risks, because spring break is such a high-risk time.”

Spring break definitely has a bad reputation. It’s a time when students – temporarily freed from the stress of homework, midterms, and essays – can often lose sight of the importance of safety and responsibility, especially when it comes to alcohol. Whole Students, Whole Campus is trying to change this scenario, one student at a time. With the pledge tree, students simply walked up to the Whole Students table in the cafeteria, grabbed a free “I (heart) consent” pin, and wrote what they intended to do to be safe on the pledge palm tree. Heather Spellacy, a sophomore who works with WSWC, was one of the students behind the table encouraging passersby to sign the tree. “A lot of students just walked up wondering what it was all about,” she said of the pledge program. “Spring break was coming up and it was on their minds anyway.”

The response from students was enthusiastic. Some put serious thought into what they wrote, pledging to “Always wear a seatbelt” or “Not to stress.” Others used the opportunity to show off their wit, with pledges like “Wear my socks inside out!” or “Not to climb trees. Safe huh?”

“Students think it’s fun and kind of silly,” said Dobrin. “But that’s fine. Whatever it takes to get them thinking about being safe.”

The program was implemented in conjunction with the Safe Spring Break Photo Contest. Whole Students, Whole Campus has invited students to submit photos of safe, fun spring break activities for the chance to win up to $50 in Dons Dollars. Dobrin explained, “With the pledges, we try to get students to think about safe activities before they leave for break. And with the photo contest, we get students to think, ‘Hey, look I had a lot of fun over break and I was alcohol-free and safe.’”

If you would like to submit a photo for the Safe Spring Break Photo Contest, contact Megan Pohlman at mtpohlman@usfca.edu. The deadline for submissions is April 3.

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