House Party Receives Recognition from MADD
Student Health Services at Minnesota State University, Mankato has developed health education programs to help inform students about the dangers of high risk drinking – including House Party, an annual event that is held each fall. This spring, the House Party event received the Underage Drinking Prevention—Teen Influence Award from the Minnesota Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Chapter.
During the House Party event, students tour an off-campus house to witness mock college party scenarios, each of which is acted out by student volunteers, to help provide a realistic encounter one may have at a house party. After the tour, guides lead students to a “processing” tent where students debrief and discuss their reactions to the party scenarios. Also in the processing tent, volunteers provide statistics and information for students to think about in order to make safe, informed decisions.
Student Health Services partners with Residential Life, LGBT Center, Women’s Center, Health PROs (Peers Reaching Out), Residence Hall Association, Eta Sigma Gamma Health Honorary, Phi Delta Theta fraternity, Mankato Department of Public Safety and Lincoln Park Neighborhood Association to organize and promote House Party. This year, House Party attracted more than 400 attendees, which was the largest crowd in the event’s existence. Katelyn Anderson, a graduate assistant for Student Health Services who assisted in the coordinating of the event, stated, “House Party is a unique and engaging way to educate students on the dangers of high-risk drinking. It was rewarding to see how many students became involved with the planning of and attending this event and how important it is to them.”
Over the past couple of years, the Mankato Department of Public Safety (DPS) has become involved in the planning of House Party as well. In addition, they have invited the greater Mankato community to be involved. House Party provides an opportunity for the campus and the community to connect in an effort to educate one another while also creating a safer community.
“We in the Department of Public Safety look forward to the event each year,” said Commander Matt DuRose. “Often times, our interactions in law enforcement deal with enforcement rather than education; this event allows for the educational component to occur in a positive way … [Mankato DPS] know[s] that enforcement will get us nowhere unless there is education that goes along with it, and House Party is one of those times that we take advantage of the opportunity to encourage and foster good decision making.”
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) is a nationally known organization that began in the 1980’s as an effort to increase awareness about the dangers of drinking and driving. Almost 30 years later, MADD is still sharing information about the dangers of drinking and driving, but it has also started focusing on preventing underage drinking with America’s youth.
Each year, the Minnesota MADD chapter hosts an awards banquet to honor those who have helped support the MADD mission and have reached out to educate others. “I’m honored to accept this award on behalf of the University departments, organizations and student volunteers involved with House Party, said health educator Lori Marti. It’s a wonderful, collaborative, educational event.