Dr. Drew Pinksy will appear at the Christopher Cohan Performing Arts Center Tuesday at 7 p.m. to address two of the biggest concerns on college campuses: Alcohol and sex.
Pinksy is well-known for his radio talk show, “Loveline,” on which he answers callers’ questions about sex, drugs and everything in between.
Pinsky is a board-certified physician and addiction specialist. In addition to hosting “Loveline,” he also hosts a show on the Discovery Health Channel called “Strictly Sex with Dr. Drew.” After a short introduction, Pinsky will welcome students to ask any questions related to alcohol and sex.
The event is presented by the Student Health Advisory Council (SHAC), a group of students who collaborate with Health Services to represent the needs of the student body and ensure the quality of health care they provide.
The council decided to host a question-and-answer session with Pinsky to reinforce awareness of the dangers of excessive drinking by Cal Poly students. The seminar will be one of a number of events that SHAC will hold on campus this year in an attempt to get students to consider their drinking habits.
Suzy Poorsatter, president of SHAC, said that students should take advantage of the opportunity to ask bold questions about the subject.
“Students who don’t care about their conduct will be interested in what he has to say,” she said. “He’s respected by his audience. Maybe they will respond to hearing something from him instead of their peers.”
“It’s more motivational when you hear it from someone you know, someone famous,” added biochemistry senior Reza Tavana, who is the treasurer for SHAC. He said they will be giving out bracelets that say “Sober Party Animal,” for students to take as a future reminder of the consequences of drunken driving. “This is a good way to leave a lasting impression.”
In order to host such a prestigious guest, SHAC enlisted the aid of other student groups to work together to acquire grant money to develop an effective program to educate students about excessive drinking. The American Medical Student Association, Persian Students of Cal Poly, the American Student Dental Association and Sigma Phi Epsilon all submitted proposals for the grant money to bring Pinsky to Cal Poly. Student volunteers from those groups will be running the event.
Poorsatter said that SHAC recognizes it will take something extra to get students’ attention about alcohol safety. She commented that the “Under Four” campaign tends to confuse students.
“Abstinence-only education doesn’t work,” she said. Instead, their goal is to send the message to “Party, but party responsibly.”
As a state-mandated council, SHAC gives health administrators perspective on decisions made about health services, promotes the health center and works to create materials and services for students. In the past two years, the group has made strides in becoming more active on campus and in the local community about addressing health concerns. One of their blood drives resulted in a record number of donations for the Tri-Counties Blood Bank. They also provide alcohol screenings and anxiety screenings as a service for students to assess if they are at risk for a problem.
Math senior and SHAC vice president Maysa Namakian said that the council is a good group of people who want to reach out and help.
“They want to make a difference and that means taking an extra step,” she said. “It’s not just something to put on a resume.”
Director of Health and Counseling Services Dr. Martin Bragg said that, according to a recent survey, Cal Poly is above average for risky alcohol behavior.
“College students expect to see alcohol use and they don’t think it’s unusual,” he said. Bragg and the students of SHAC hope the presentation with Pinsky will give them an opportunity to get answers that may help them discontinue the risky behaviors.
The event is also a chance for the staff of the Cal Poly Health Center to get a clear picture of students’ concerns that they are too afraid to ask about.
SHAC member Chris Messick, an agricultural business sophomore from Sigma Phi Epsilon, said he’s sure students will have “interesting” questions for Pinsky.
“It might be a little awkward,” he said. “But it will be entertaining.”