By Madison Martinez
The HERO campaign for designated drivers is a non-profit organization that collaborates with colleges, schools, bars, and other partners to raise awareness of the dangers of drunk driving and importance of having a designated driver ready for anytime they are necessary. According to the campaign’s About page, their goal is to “make having a designated driver be as automatic as wearing a seatbelt.”
On July 2, 2000, graduate of the Naval Academy John Elliot was driving home for his mother’s birthday when he was killed in a head-on collision with a drunk driver, who was already punished and released for a DUI once before. He still decided to make the same mistake and this time it was responsible for Elliot’s and his death.
Elliot’s family created the HERO campaign in honor of his memory. The term HERO is from Elliot being named the outstanding Human Education Resource Officer (HERO) of his graduating class. In his role, John was a peer counselor for his fellow students, helping them with academic and personal issues.
To help this cause, FDU partnered with the HERO campaign in 2013 and it is still operating today as an active and fulfilling club on campus. The Equinox interviewed with the club president, Haley Hassan. The passion of the club was apparent when speaking with her.
When asked about Hassan’s favorite part of leading the club, she replied, “I feel that I give back to not only my community but – in a sense – to my loved ones I have lost due to substance abuse. I am a part of this organization in memory of them.”
According to the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, including motor-vehicle crashes. However, the people who die aren’t the only victims. Their family, friends, and loved ones all suffer through the accident, and the pain will never truly go away. Prevention is the best option.
Hassan gave a rundown of all the events the HERO campaign holds on campus including, “Lollanobooza,” “Drunk Goggle Piñata,” “HEROtini Mocktail Challenge,” and more. The club attempts to balance enjoyment with awareness, hoping to promote HERO campaign, “in a safe and educational environment,” according to Hassan.
One event coming up for the club is the “Consent is Sexy” event, which will be held on March 28, at 8:30P.M. in Wilson Auditorium.
“The most important message that we voice to the students,” said Hassan, “is that everyone’s voice matters and needs to be heard.”
It’s planned to be a learning experience that will be beneficial for all students. Hassan hopes that students who attend the event will, “feel more confident if they are put into certain situations they may not want to be in and learn that it’s okay to say no! Everyone’s voice needs to be heard and everyone matters.”
This campaign is beneficial for students to join who want to help the community and bring awareness to a pressing social issue.
“The HERO Campaign is a rewarding organization to be a part of because you guide your peers on the importance of staying safe and making responsible choices!” Hassan said with excitement.
If you wish to learn more information about the HERO campaign, email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photograph courtesy of HERO Campaign-FDU.