Sep 282006
Authors: Marissa HuttonGavel The Rocky Mountain Collegian

Marques Lopez isn’t going to battle alcohol consumption. After all, the senior marketing major knows that students are always going to drink.

But he hopes, with a little information, that his newly formed group will be able to slash the number of times students get behind the wheel of a car after drinking.

“We’re about DUI awareness,” said Lopez, president of Driving Your Life Away, a group focused on providing education about the effects of drunk driving.

“We’re not telling you not to go out and drink. We’re all college students, we all make mistakes.”

Lopez, along with treasurer and senior biological science major Mayan Miller, hosted the organization’s second meeting of the year on Sept. 6 at 7 p.m. in the Lory Student Center.

What began as a project for the President’s Leadership Program among six classmates has since been transformed into what Lopez and Miller hope will be a successful group effort to help CSU.

“We are totally open to going all the way with this,” Lopez said.

While founding members have already been working on the project for more than a year, the group is looking to expand its presence in and around campus and recruit new members.

Though there was only a turnout of four new members at the first meeting, Lopez and Miller said it’s important to get both students and community members involved and noted that they are not interested in passing judgment.

With plans to print flyers listing legal and illegal blood alcohol levels in relation to driving and other statistics, DYLA hopes to change some of the common misconceptions about drunk driving.

Lopez said he wants to educate students about the dangers of getting behind the wheel after just two beers.

Anna McConnell, the DUI prevention coordinator at Poudre Valley Health Systems, will also work closely with the group.

“I would love to help however I can,” she said. “There’s really a perception problem with people thinking that whoever’s had the least amount to drink should drive.”

The group also plans to set up a mock car crash in Old Town, work at DUI checkpoints and potentially team up with safe-ride programs RamRide and Smart Ride to encourage volunteer work.

Smart Ride, a local designated-driver campaign sponsored by PVH and funded by businesses such as New Belgium Brewery, is a complementary program to the well-known RamRide services at CSU.

Smart Ride provides incentives for designated drivers by working with local restaurants and bars to reward them with free soft drinks all night and vouchers for free food or discounted admission for a future visit.

Associated Students of CSU President Jason Green is also interested in promoting DYLA in conjunction with RamRide.

“I saw what the purpose was (of DYLA) and I thought it would perfect for RamRide,” Green said.

Assistant news editor Marissa Hutton-Gavel can be reached at

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