Around 200 student athletes filled Ballroom C of the Shepherd Union Building at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday for the Fall 2011 Student-Athlete Substance Abuse Seminar presented by the APPLE Committee.
Attendance was mandatory for all student athletes at Weber State University. The committee itself consists of about eight student athletes. Jamie Rigby, president of the committee and a redshirt freshman on the WSU football team, said he formed the committee earlier this year after he and two other members attended a similar-themed seminar in Austin, Texas.
The committee also includes Jeff Rasmussen, Curtis Cosgrove and Shaun McClain of the football team, Amanda Hughes of the women’s basketball team, Brittiny Moore of the women’s tennis team, and Mikelle Kap of the volleyball team. Each member was given a chance to speak at the seminar.
Rigby said the APPLE Committee’s mission is to educate WSU’s student athletes on drug and alcohol abuse and to encourage safe practices.
“I just think that, especially (in) the athletic lifestyle, people like to party . . . I just hope people understand the consequences and what a difference they can make individually in different people’s lives,” he said.
To demonstrate misconceptions about alcohol serving sizes, each table had a pitcher of water and a cup for each student on it. The committee told the students to pour what they estimated to be one ounce into their cups. Committee members then passed around small plastic cups representing an actual serving ounce, which they said is only a third of one shot of alcohol.
“In America, we kind of have a problem with how we represent alcohol, and we don’t drink safely because we don’t give the right serving sizes,” Moore said. “We don’t have any serving sizes on our bottles.”
The committee then presented the students with three different scenarios of drug and alcohol abuse, listing options for courses of action afterward. Using electronic clickers, the students submitted what they thought to be the correct answers. One of the scenarios posed the question of what to do when someone at a party seems to have alcohol poisoning and calling the police could put the rest of the people at the party at legal risk. The committee said that, according to the Good Samaritan law, a person who calls the authorities to help someone else cannot be prosecuted for, as an example, being at the party where underage drinking occurred, so calling to save someone’s life does not put one at legal risk.
The committee concluded the seminar with a YouTube slideshow about Jacqueline Saburido, who was severely disfigured in September 1999 after being hit by a drunk driver and remaining caught in the burning car for 45 seconds. Reginald Stephey, the 18-year-old high school student who hit her and her friends, was sentenced to two seven-year stints in prison for intoxicated manslaughter, as two of Saburido’s friends in the car were killed.
Cash Knight, a sophomore on the football team who attended the seminar, said he appreciated its message.
“I thought it was a very good idea,” he said. “I mean, granted, I’m not one who says that nobody should drink ever, regardless of the circumstance, but I fully agree that everything should be done safely and in good measure, and the video they gave was absolutely haunting, so hopefully that will keep a few people from driving drunk . . . Knowledge is power, right?”