CU community encouraged to 'Live Free' during sobriety challenge Sept. 22-26

September 20, 2011 •

The University of Colorado Boulder Oasis student group and Counseling and Psychological Services will present the third annual Live Free Weekend -- a sobriety challenge to the campus community -- Sept. 22-26.

Students, faculty and others who elect to participate will forego all alcohol or binge use of alcohol for 96 hours. The pledge also includes no recreational drug use for all participants. Free activities including open mic talent shows, dances and intramural sports will be provided, inviting participants to experience how substance-abuse-free lifestyles can be fun, engaging and rewarding.

"Our aim with the weekend is twofold: to get people to realize that they don't need alcohol to have an enjoyable weekend, and secondly, to get binge drinkers to realize that they do not need to binge drink to have fun socially," said Interim Dean of Students Karen Raforth. "The first message is one that helps promote moderation, while the second saves lives."

The CU-Boulder Athletics Department will help kick off Live Free Weekend with a free lunch offered to participants on Thursday, Sept. 22, beginning at noon outside the south entrance to Balch Fieldhouse. The gathering will allow last-minute registration for the sobriety challenge, and an opportunity for participants to meet each other.

"Live Free Weekend is about showing members of the campus community that we have lots of options and being fully present is one of them," said Theo Curtis, Oasis student group member. "It gives those who choose sobriety a chance to gain some visibility in the community, and sheds light on the truth that living sober is a rewarding and engaging way to show up in the world."

On Friday, Sept. 23, CU-Boulder's GLBTQ Resource Center and the Biphoria student group will present an Alice-in-Wonderland-inspired tea party to celebrate the bisexual community and its allies. The free event including tea, cookies, cakes and games on the Regent Administrative Center lawn will be held from 4 to 6 p.m.

Students will lead the way on a variety of other activities throughout the weekend including volunteer projects on Saturday, Sept. 24, through the CU-Boulder Volunteer Resource Center's annual Give A Day program. One project option involves seed collection work with Boulder County Parks and Open Space. Other project options include harvesting and winterizing local gardens with an end-hunger organization, assisting with inventory and event planning for an organization that supports children in need, and painting and cleaning for a homeless shelter. Volunteer project registration is required and more information can be found at www.regonline.com/Register/Checkin.aspx?EventID=1009317.

On Sunday, Sept. 25, a cycling class and discussion will be offered at 6 p.m. at the Student Recreation Center's Cycling Studio.

"Live Free Weekend is about opportunity and choice," said Matthew Tomatz, substance abuse program coordinator at CU-Boulder Counseling and Psychological Services. "It is a chance for us to come together in new ways, step back from routine, see new options, consider future choices and gather at events to support well-being and community."

Live Free Weekend is sponsored by CU-Boulder Housing and Dining Services, the CU Recreation Center, the Volunteer Resource Center, the Residence Hall Association, the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, the Center for Multicultural Affairs, the Parents Association, the GLBTQ Resource Center and the Community Health program.

Individuals and groups are encouraged to take the 96-hour sobriety challenge. To sign the pledge and see a complete list of events visit www.colorado.edu/livefreeweekend. To learn more about campus resources and initiatives dedicated to combating substance abuse visit www.colorado.edu/news/reports/alcoholmeasures/.

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