Spring Break is a time to relax and have fun, but as this week’s University of Arizona Safe Spring Break Symposium will remind students, in an instant their lives can change forever.
In 2001, Hunter White was a freshman at the UA. While on a spring break trip to Mexico, he died in a car crash related to drunk driving.
The Hunter White Health Advocate Program was founded in 2007 by the White family and the UA’s Fraternity and Sorority Programs, with a goal of reducing risk in the UA community.
At 5:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 28, the Fraternity and Sorority Programs is hosting the Tenth Annual Safe Spring Break Symposium in Centennial Hall.
The event is open to all UA students and community members. Mark Sterner from Campus Speak will talk about how driving under the influence changed his life.
Since the beginning of the Hunter White Health Advocate Program, more than 10,000 students have heard the message of safety before spring break.
More than 15,000 blood alcohol level (BAC) wallet cards have been distributed, and more than 450 students have been trained as health advocates — a peer-education role designed to promote safety in fraternities and sororities at the UA.
Peer education is an evidence-based public-health approach.
The Hunter White program is a risk-reduction, peer-education program in which a graduate student teaches about health issues relevant to university students, including alcohol use, sexual education, drug abuse, mental health, hazing and body image.
“By being taught by someone who we can relate to easily since there is a small age gap, it was not boring or awkward to be lectured to,” former health advocate Luke Ciulla said.
Through peer education, the program works to reach students in a nonjudgmental way and to give them the information they need to make safer and healthier choices.
UA Fraternity and Sorority Programs says it believes that education will encourage students to make safe choices.
The support of the White family is vital to the initiative, and they will be honored at this year’s symposium.
Will White, Hunter’s brother, knows that, “Hunter would have said, ‘Go out and have the best time ever, but make sure you come home.’”