Cash cab teaches alcohol safety

UND Health and Wellness Hub’s “cash cab.” Photo by Chester Beltowski/The Dakota Student.

Once again, the UND Health and Wellness Hub is giving out free rides and important information on alcohol with their popular Golf Cart Cash Cab.

You may have seen it putzing around campus the past few days, picking up students and quickly shuttling them off to miscellaneous locations.

Seeing as North Dakota seems to have thoroughly agreed with Punxsutawney Phil’s forecast, a break from walking in the chilly weather is often a welcome change of pace.

Similar to the real “Cash Cab” TV show, students are driven to their classes while being asked a series of alcohol-related questions

“All of the questions have to do with alcohol,” Substance Abuse and Prevention Coordinator Jennifer Proulx said. “The main goal is to provide education that can help in changing behavior.”

One important difference between the two is that the passenger won’t be forced to leave for incorrectly answering questions

“We think that the education is so important that we don’t want to kick people out for wrongly answering questions,” Proulx said.

Though this is the third semester volunteers from the Health and Wellness Hub have put on Golf Cart Cash Cab, it was specifically planned to be hosted this time of year.

“Part of the reason we are doing this, is that April is Alcohol Awareness Month,” Proulx said. “It’s a group of seven peer educators, and they’re asking questions we think are important for UND students to know.”

Along with the free ride, participating students are also given a chance to win one of several themed prizes.

“We are offering five different prize baskets, and we let the students choose which one they’d like to be entered in,” Proulx said. “We have a movie, outdoor, health nut, sports and UND themed prize baskets.”

When asked about her opinion of Golf Cart Cash Cab, Proulx had nothing but glowing praise for the program.

“The peer educators are really excited about it, we absolutely love doing this event,” Proulx said. “We get to educate in a creative and fun way.”

0-1-2-3 Philosophy

For those of you not lucky enough to score a ride on the Golf Cart Cash Cab, the UND Health and Wellness Hub also offer a philosophy for low risk drinking revolving around the numbers 0-1-2-3. By adhering to the following rules, students can safely avoid unsafe situations with alcohol.

0 –  The number of times when a person specifically should not drink. Times like this include if you are pregnant, have to drive or have important schoolwork such as a test the following day.

1 – The number of drinks you can have per hour. It has been shown that your liver can process about one drink per hour.

2 – The maximum number of times you should drink per week. According to the National Health Service, regularly consuming alcohol can cause “liver problems, reduced fertility, increased risk of various cancers and heart attacks…”

3 – The maximum number of drinks you should have in a sitting. Having one drink can easily lead to having another, so it is best to set a rule that you will not consume more than three drinks each time you choose to have alcohol. For reference, one drink is considered 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of hard liquor.

Information provided by Jennifer Proulx, Rethink Drinking and the National Health Service.

Brendan McCabe is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected].