Oksoberfest, An Award-Winning Alcohol Education Event, set for Friday, Oct. 29, at UNK

Ismael Torres
Health Education coordinator, 308.865.8092.

UNK– OkSOBERfest, an award-winning alcohol education event on the University of Nebraska at Kearney campus, will have students learning the effects of alcohol while competing to win an iPod Nano on Friday, Oct. 29.

OkSOBERfest, which was named Program of the Year 2006-2007 by Bacchus and Gamma, an international peer health education network, is free and open to all UNK students. The event will take place from 7-11 p.m. in the Nebraskan Student Union Ponderosa Room. The event is hosted by the UNK Peer Health Education Office.

OkSOBERfest activities include simulated sobriety tests, along with Black Jack, karaoke and a new event known as The Battle of the Bs. The Battle of the Bs contest consists of Battle of the Brain, where contestants answer questions regarding binge drinking; Battle of the Body, contestants wearing sumo suits and beer goggles maneuver through obstacles; and Battle of the Will, which is similar to Fear Factor, and students eat different combinations of food, including real insects. The winner of The Battle of the Bs will receive the grand prize of a new iPod Nano. Students will be served snacks, along with kegs of root beer, while engaging in the various alcohol education activities.

“One of the more popular activities among students is our simulated sobriety tests, which are performed by a Kearney police officer,” said Ismael Torres, UNK Health Education coordinator. “KPD has been very kind to assign an officer to this event every year to help educate our students on the dangers of binge drinking and the consequences of high risk activities.”

According to Torres, the KPD officer brings beer goggles and has students perform simple tasks while wearing the goggles. Each pair of goggles simulates a different level of intoxication, and provides the officer with an opportunity to discuss that level and how it affects the body.

“OkSOBERfest gives students an opportunity to engage with students, police officers and staff in a way that they may not otherwise have done,” Torres said. “The hope is through this type of program students who need help can get it and be successful while here at UNK.”

A survey is given to UNK students every two years as part of the American College Health Association-National College Health Assessment. According to the most recent survey, more than 65 percent of students reported that they had fewer than four drinks the last time they partied/socialized. However, when asked how many drinks they thought the typical student at UNK had the last time they partied/socialized, 70 percent of students stated five or more.

“It’s no secret that many students believe underage drinking is a rite once they’ve entered college,” Torres said. “The benefit of an event like OkSOBERfest is that it helps debunk this idea by presenting students with accurate information about what is really going on around them.”

OkSOBERfest is sponsored jointly by Buffalo County Community Health Partners, Region III Behavioral Health Services, UNK LPAC and UNK Student Support Services.