Fresno State gets a jump on the annual National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week Oct. 21-27 with an appearance at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 16, by former Junior College All-America volleyball player Sarah Panzau, talking about how deciding to drive drunk changed her life.

Panzau’s free, public presentation will be introduced by Bulldog volleyball coach Lauren Netherby-Sewel. Panzau speaks throughout the nation under sponsorship of Anheuser-Busch about the need to exercise responsibility in alcohol consumption.

Panzau’s appearance is supported by Donaghy Sales, a Fresno beverage company, Fresno State’s DAAWG program; the University Health Center’s Health and Promotion and Wellness Resources Department; and USU Productions.

Her speech kicks off a series of activities that is part of the university’s alcohol awareness program.

Other Fresno events planned in observance of National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week are:

  • Oct. 17 — Milk and Cookies Night at 9 p.m. at the University Courtyard Atrium. The event provides on-campus residents alcohol awareness-related activities and informational booths. “This event is a critical opportunity to educate our 1,100 resident students on issues surrounding alcohol and other drugs,” said Erin Boele, director of University Courtyard.
  • Oct. 18. — Family Feud at 7 p.m.  at the University Courtyard Atrium. Teams of students compete answering questions about alcohol issues using the TV game-show format.
  • Oct. 23 — Oktober Wellness Fest, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. at the Memorial Court in front of the Kennel Bookstore, an alcohol safety information fair. Students can sign a memorial display for individuals who have lost their lives to alcohol-related accidents and visit booths with information on alcohol alternative activities, mocktails and popcorn and a chance to win raffle prizes including a Kindle Fire.

Dr. Paul Oliaro, the vice president for student affairs, said the university’s efforts to educate students about alcohol abuse WILL continue throughout the year “with special emphasis on encouraging students to exercise responsibility if they choose to consume alcohol.”

Oliaro said Fresno State’s other ongoing initiatives to promote alcohol awareness include:

  • The University Health Center sponsors the Drug and Alcohol Awareness and Wellness Guide (DAAWG) program, a peer education group that reaches out to students with information booths at events and interactive workshops such as Oktober Wellness Fest.
  • Stall Seat Journal is published to promote student awareness about the hazards of drinking by placing information in restrooms across campus.

This fall’s alcohol awareness activities at Fresno State have special importance because of the death Sept. 2 of freshman student Philip Dhanens from alcohol consumption at an off-campus fraternity event.

Another objective of Fresno State’s alcohol education efforts is “also to make sure students call public safety or 9-1-1 if they encounter someone who has consumed too much alcohol and is incapacitated. One bad judgment can significantly change a life, or even end it,” added Oliaro, who also chairs the campus Alcohol Safety Council.

Fresno State’s long-term and continuing commitment to alcohol abuse awareness is underscored by President John D. Welty’s chairing of three national conferences on the subject and of a California State review of alcohol policies and programs.

For more information about Panzau’s appearance and Oktober Wellness Fest, contact Kathy Yarmo at 559.278.6739For Milk and Cookies Night, contact Tyler Miller at

(University Communications news student assistant Alejandra Garcia contributed to this copy.)

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