It is Thursday night and a group of students have walked into Murski’s Icehouse, ready to down a few and have a good time with friends. But one student leaves the group and walks to the counter where an employee hands him a bright orange wristband and cup with the promise of free non-alcoholic drinks all night. Later that night, the group leaves the bar and arrives safely back home thanks to the student who chose free drinks over alcohol, putting safety back behind the wheel.
With the introduction of the Alcohol Abuse Initiative’s new iDrive program, it may not be so unusual to see scenes such as this with students choosing to remain sober in the name of safety and free stuff.
Binge drinking and drinking and driving are notoriously prevalent activities on college campuses across the nation. Yet the Sam Houston State University AAI hopes the new iDrive designated driver program will help curb these destructive habits at SHSU and in the Huntsville community.
In a previous interview with The Houstonian, assistant professor of health Rosanne Keathley revealed that there is currently no countywide designated driver program because Walker County lacks a fleet of rental cars to implement for that purpose.
Under the new program, students who identify themselves as designated drivers upon entering any participating Huntsville establishment will be identified with an iDrive wristband and rewarded with free non-alcoholic beverages all night.
In addition to free drinks, students who choose to be the designated driver will be able to enter drawings for bigger prizes at each bar or restaurant, such as food and concert tickets.
The logo for the new campaign should resonate well with students’ as it resembles that of the popular I-Pod commercials, with a silhouette dancing with a pair of keys rather than a musical storage device.
According to the AAI Web site, participating establishments include Murski’s Icehouse, Shenanigan’s and Confetti’s Beach Club, Zach’s Bar and Grill and Fatboys Grill. A complete list of area participants is available at http://www.shsu.edu/~org_aai. With incentives to stay sober and students willing to take advantage of them, the AAI slogan, “Smart Kats, Smart Choices”, may soon lead to more safety and more peace of mind for all those who drive on the streets of Huntsville.