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Students get help in avoiding making costly decisions

"You don't have to be an alcoholic to have alcohol problems," explained Sergeant John Souza, describing Costly Decisions,  a program developed  for students who break the alcohol policy on campus.

Any offenders of the University’s rules on alcohol may be sent to the program by their Resident Director. The program was developed by DPS Sergeants Moe Dore and John Souza who described the program as "not an authoritative punishment, but an interactive discussion about the dangers in drinking."

Alcohol problems may be an addiction or, as Souza stated, may include something that happens in a single night. An alcoholic is someone with a recurring problem, but even getting drunk just once can have a dire impact on someone's life.

The focus of the program, since its founding 11 years ago, has been to be real and relatable to the students who attend. Discussions about the dangers, as well as a sharing of experiences, is what Souza hopes will bring change to dangerous habits and help students avoid costly decisions.

The secondary focus is to not just make sure students are making good choices for themselves, but for their friends. "It can be hard to stand up and say something, but making courageous decisions like taking the keys from a drunk friend and other alternatives to drunk driving are another lesson that we hope to get across in Costly Decisions."

"If even one of the more than 1500 students who have attended this program gets the message, its worth it," said Souza, echoing the mission statement of the Costly Decisions and its parent program, Community Policing. Every life saved makes the program worth it.

Community Policing is a philosophy of Public Safety to "enhance the quality of life for all students, faculty, and staff," that focuses on the prevention of crime and measures students can take to stay safe.

According to the testimonies on the Community Policing website, students have been very satisfied with the Costly Decisions program, stating that it really is about discussing the issues and problems through experiences rather than lectures. Students involved in the program have claimed this method effective.

"It's really about breaking barriers between students and the law enforement on campus, and good conversation openess and getting rid of the them vs. us myth," explained Souza, who felt this was what made the program different from others.

Breaking the alcohol policies on campus is not only breaking a school rule and a possible danger to you though, but also against the law. There are consequences that go far past school matters that can follow a student for the rest of their life. And even above the legal dangers are of course, dangers to oneself.

While punishment for an offense is obvious, the school wants more than that. They wish to help students with problems caused by alcohol and help them make good decisions in the future.

Moreover though, the program is aimed to promote safety. A costly decision can have terrible consequences, and more than anything, the University wants students to think before they make choices, and try to keep themselves and their friends out of harm's way.

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