Monday, April 11, 2011

House Party is No Fun.

“Being pregnant isn’t as cute as I thought it would be,” said Ferrum College student Katie Duff.” With groan she added, “It’s also heavier.”

Katie is one of about 200 students who are learning first hand the consequences of their actions. She's wearing an outfit that makes her look and feel pregnant.

Other students were suspended from school, sexually assaulted at a party and learned they had contracted various sexually transmitted diseases. Oh yeah – some went to jail and others died.

It’s part of an exercise called, House Party put on by the College Department of Student Affairs.

“It shows students how close they are to life changing decisions, when they don’t even realize it,” explained Student Health Programs Coordinator Jill Adams, who heads the program.

Students begin the exercise by attending what looks like a keg party in the Panther’s Den. There is loud music, a pair of kegs in the middle of the room, and sorority sisters dancing and drinking from red plastic cups. It looks for all the world like an actual college party.

As the students mingle, volunteers pass out slips of paper that indicate what the student “did” after drinking too much and making bad decisions. “You have alcohol poisoning, go to the hospital,” said one slip. “You were charged with assault for fighting,” said another.

The first student went to a station manned by Ferrum Biology Professor Katie Goff, playing the role of doctor who informed the young lady that she had required CPR and nearly died after having her stomach pumped. She was dispatched to another station, where she would need to explain herself to volunteers posing as her parents.

Student Marcavious Rose, meanwhile learned that his assault charge, though dropped would still be cause to dismiss him from school. “We can’t take a chance on a student who has shown he is willing to do bodily harm to another student,” explained Vice President of Student Affairs Andrea Zuschin.

Down the hall there were even worse stories. Brittany Jones learned she had been sexually assaulted at a party after passing out. Claude Johnson walked by with a sign around his neck. It announced he’d contracted gonorrhea.

When asked about the exercise, every student said it made them realize how close they could be to making a life changing mistake. Volunteers, like Amy Pendleton of the Perinatal Education Center in Rocky Mount, who handed lifelike crying babies, to students who learned they’d become pregnant, said they would rather spend the time now, than helping kids learn, “once it’s too late.”

Pendleton drove the point home by setting the baby’s adjustable temperament to ‘irritable.” Said one student tasked with carrying, feeding and changing the crying baby’s diapers, “This is way harder than I thought.”

1 comment:

  1. That is a very interesting role play exercise. It is true that most people don't realize how easy it is to make a life changing decision.