Wednesday, February 4, 2015

USNA Organizes "Make It Back Home" Night

The U.S. Naval Academy Alcohol and Drug Program partnered with a local restaurant to host “Make it Back Home” night Jan. 30.

The event, held at local Annapolis restaurant Galway Bay, was designed to help promote responsible drinking within the Brigade of Midshipmen by encouraging them to make a plan and stick to it and reminding them to take care of one another at all times.

“I think the Galway Bay night is a great way to encourage a safe environment of responsible social drinking,” said LT Katherine Jensen, USNA Alcohol and Drug Education (ADEO) Officer. “The event emphasizes safe drinking principles of drinking with trusted friends, eating food and drinking water, avoiding liquor, and limiting the number of drinks you have.”

The program helps midshipmen remember the simple concepts of going out with a group of people that you trust, knowing where you will be going and what you will be drinking, and having someone step up and take responsibility for their fellow midshipmen.

“We are told over and over again facts about alcohol and read scenarios about when a night of liberty went completely wrong,” said Midshipman 1st Class Elizabeth Shields, brigade alcohol and drug education officer. “It's easy to hear words, but once you have practiced doing the right thing, that is when it sticks into your memory and helps guide future decisions.”

Shields came up with the idea after soliciting establishments in downtown Annapolis for help in establishing an event that promotes responsible drinking.

“The manager at Galway Bay was very interested in talking about ways to promote a safe drinking culture,” said Shields. “[He] was the person responsible for suggesting the 'Make it Back Home' event that rewards people who actively practice the idea of drinking responsibly."  

The event is designed to reward responsible drinking by offering discount prices on food to groups that follow four tenants of responsible drinking: being in a group of four or more people, drinking only beer or wine, drinking water continuously throughout the night, and choosing a designated non-drinking person to make decisions for the group.

“We have a hard time defining ‘having a plan’ or ‘drinking responsibly,’ but people do these things all the time, and may not even know it,” said Shields. “While exposing a new culture to some, this event could also act to reinforce a responsible drinking culture that some people already adhere to.”

The goal of the ADEO program is to promote responsible use of alcohol and encourage midshipmen to watch for each other.  Responsible drinking is enforced at USNA by making everyone accountable for each other’s actions.

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