The UC Irvine Pacific Ballroom was dead silent at the Sigma Pi alcohol awareness event last Tuesday when Pam Spady, a mother who lost her daughter to alcohol poisoning, gave a speech.
The story of Pam Spady’s daughter, Sam, has been told by numerous news sources including Seventeen Magazine, Dr. Phil and USA Today. Spady was a young college girl at Colorado State University who died due to alcohol consumption in September 2004. She had been drinking at several parties following a football game and was unable to make it home.
As an attempt to aid her, several boys at the Sigma Pi house at Colorado State offered to let her stay on one of the couches to “sleep it off.” However, while on the couch, her blood alcohol levels continued to rise eventually calumniating in a .43 Blood Alcohol Content. A BAC level of .08 is considered by law to be unsafe for operating a motor vehicle. The next day, while one member was giving his mother a tour of the fraternity house, he discovered her dead body.
As mouths gaped at the sky-high BAC, it was clear that many of the UCI Sigma Pi members were affected by Spady’s story.
“I think it was definitely an eye-opening experience for everybody who attended,” said Griffin Conway, a third-year political science major and president of Sigma Pi. “Especially with my members because it was a Sigma Pi house that she died in. I think it really hit home with the guys.”
The event began with some UCI policemen informing students how to react when someone around them has alcohol poisoning. They listed programs involved in helping students overcome alcohol abuse, including Secular Organizations for Sobriety, gave numbers to call and listed specific alcohol poisoning reports that they had received in the past.
After teaching students about how to handle alcohol poisoning, Pam Spady gave a mother’s unique perspective on alcohol consumption. The Sam Spady Foundation does not condone drinking, however, they encourage people to be responsible by taking care of themselves and others.
This is the first time that Sigma Pi has had Pam Spady come to speak at UCI, but it is not their first alcohol awareness event.
“[Last year] we brought some wrecked cars from DUI accidents and put them in the middle of Ring Road for our drunk driving [awareness] event. This year, we decided to step it up a notch and actually get Miss Spady to get out and speak,” Conway said.
In addition to making the Sam Spady Foundation presentation an annual event, the fraternity plans on hosting the Altruistic Campus Experience (ACE) project which works at improving UCI as a whole, in the spring.
As far as being informed about alcohol awareness, Sigma Pi feels that it is important to be knowledgeable whether or not a student partakes in Greek events.
“Being aware about alcohol poisoning is beneficial for the Greek community as a whole and anybody at UCI,” Conway said. “Anyone at this age can benefit by learning about the dangers of alcohol, and I think every college student needs to look at why they are here. Sometimes things can become dangerous if things get out of hand.”
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