In the fall of 2015, Student Health & Wellness hosted its first-ever Amazing IOWA Race. Organized during National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week - a week designed to raise awareness about alcohol-related issues on college campuses - the event attracted twenty-five UI students who competed against each other on five teams.
The Amazing IOWA Race was a competitive scavenger hunt that focused on alcohol education and promoting a healthier campus and community culture. Teams were given clues that led them to various locations across campus and throughout the downtown Iowa City area. At each stop, participants completed a task related to alcohol education in order to receive their next clue. The first team to complete all of the tasks and reach the finish line was crowned champion by Student Health & Wellness officials.
Ten stops were included on the hunt, with tasks such as: making a rap video about the Responsible Action Protocol, finding flags on the Pentacrest with signs of alcohol poisoning, pouring drinks of standard size, playing charades to help promote the benefits of abstaining from alcohol, and running through an obstacle course blindfolded.
The purpose of this event was to support a campus culture of excitement for educational and alcohol free programming, highlight various alcohol-free or late-night activities across campus and in the community, identify how alcohol can affect student success at the University of Iowa, and relay information on how to be an active bystander.
Beth Ripperger, Behavioral Health Clinician at Student Health & Wellness, said, “Whether a student chooses to drink or chooses not to drink, high-risk drinking can affect everyone. The event helped bring students together to not only highlight the importance of high-risk drinking, but it also provided students with tangible skills and information they could take with them to help themselves or their peers in the future.”
Of the 25 student participants, 100% could identify at least one way alcohol could impact their success at the University of Iowa. Ninety-six percent could name two alternative activities to consuming alcohol in Iowa City. Ninety-two percent could identify two protective strategies that a person can use to minimize the negative consequences of high risk drinking. Lastly, 88% of participants could identify a way they could be an active bystander if they saw another student incapacitated due to alcohol.
“It was exciting to see the students come together and want to be engaged in creating a healthier and safer campus for everyone,” Ripperger said. “Not only did they learn a thing or two throughout the race, but I think it’s safe to say that judging from the smiles on their faces at the end they managed to have some fun along the way.”