If Mark Sterner’s personal story about the dangers of drunk driving fails to open some eyes, perhaps few other speeches on the subject will.
Sterner, a nationally renowned speaker, will relate his tragic biography during an appearance set for Tuesday, Sept. 1 at Bennett Auditorium on The University of Southern Mississippi campus. He is scheduled to speak at 6:30 p.m. and again at 8 p.m. There is no admission charge and the event is open to the general public.
The Southern Miss Council on Alcohol Abuse Prevention, in conjunction with Student Counseling Services, is sponsoring Sterner’s visit. Deena Crawford, director of Student Counseling Services, also serves as co-chair of the new Southern Miss council geared toward raising student awareness of alcohol abuse.
“This is our first event of the school year, and we couldn’t think of a better way to get started,” said Crawford. “Mark Sterner’s life has really been a nightmare experience as a result of the choices he made while in college. He’s been very honest about the mistakes he made, and I believe students can really connect with him because of his story.”
Sterner was a student at Johnson and Wales University in Rhode Island in 1994 when he and four fraternity brothers were involved in a drunk-driving accident while on spring break in Florida. Sterner was behind the wheel in the crash that killed three of his best friends. Subsequently convicted on three felony manslaughter charges, Sterner spent three years in a Florida prison.
While incarcerated, Sterner began talking to students about the consequences of his actions. Since that time he has recounted his story to more than one million high school and college students.
In association with Sterner’s visit, students will have an opportunity to complete anonymous online screening to assess their own alcohol behavior and receive feedback from the information provided. Those who participate will also enter a drawing for a chance to win one of four iTunes cards. Beginning Sept. 1, students can participate by going to www.mentalhealthscreening.org/screening/login.asp?keyword=SOUTHERNMISS
Jodi Tate, health education coordinator at Southern Miss, says the council’s presence represents another crucial step in the university’s ongoing commitment to educating students about the hazards of alcohol abuse.
“The council has brought together representatives from many campus departments and outside organizations that realize the importance of alcohol abuse prevention on campus,” said Tate, who also co-chairs the group. “We now have a stronger force behind prevention and educational activities that will help to reduce and prevent alcohol abuse and its consequences in Southern Miss students.”
For more information about Sterner’s appearance, call 601.266.4829.
About The University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi, founded in 1910, is a comprehensive doctoral and research-extensive university fulfilling its mission of being a leading university in engaging and empowering individuals to transform lives and communities. In a tradition of leadership for student development, Southern Miss is educating a 21st century work force providing intellectual capital, cultural enrichment and innovation to Mississippi and the world. Southern Miss is located in Hattiesburg, Miss., with an additional campus and teaching and research sites on the Mississippi Gulf Coast; further information is found at www.usm.edu.