Death Experience – an annual campus event organized by Student Health Services that
aims to prevent distracted, drugged and drunk driving – returned to San Diego Mesa
College on Wednesday, March 22 in the LRC Quad.
“We started this event to help our students to understand what alcohol is because
maybe they’re trying it for the first time and they’re not aware of how dangerous
it is,” said Suzanne Khambata, FNP, Nurse Practitioner at Mesa College. “There’s a
cognitive dissonance that occurs in the mind of the young adult and it separates the
repercussions of your actions in your mind, so drunk or drugged driving or using alcohol
and drugs is separated from what could happen to you.”
Khambata added that through this event, the staff aims to bridge the gap between using
alcohol and drugs or texting while driving, and what some of the consequences of those
actions may be.
During the event, San Diego Community College District Police provided drunk goggles
for students to use during a simulated DUI stop and interrogation, as well as a fatal
vision driving course. Assistant District Attorney Callie Bright spoke from her experience
prosecuting drunk and drugged drivers, Michael Booth gave one-on-one education regarding
recovery from addiction and support, and AT&T conducted “Distracted Driving” education.
Students were encouraged to sign Mesa’s No Texting While Driving pledge banner.
Restaurants Against Drunk Driving – a non-profit that aims to increase road safety
and driver responsibility – also presented educational materials during Death Experience.
A dramatic “Jaws of Life” demonstration by the San Diego Fire Department showed students
how victims in car crashes are extracted from crushed cars.
Cars involved in DUIs accidents and corresponding photos were on display from March
20 to 24, along with autopsies from alcohol and drug related deaths and driving accidents.
“I see the death experience as a look into mortality,” said Community Health Nurse
Mark Malebranche, Ph.D., RN. “The evidence of what a car crash looks like up close,
and the demonstration of the jaws of life by the San Diego Fire Department show our
students not only what can happen, but that events such as car crashes do happen.
We want all our students back after Spring break, and believe the Death Experience
helps us to do so.”
Students who participated during the Death Experience event on March 22 by getting
involved with the activities and answering a quick quiz received a free lunch. Last
year, 515 students participated by filling out a survey during the Death Experience
Survey results showed that 40 percent of students would not ride with texting drivers
in the pre-survey compared to 92 percent in the post-survey; and 46 percent of students
said that driving after one drink is very dangerous in the pre-survey, compared to
81 percent of students in the post-survey. Other results include an increase from
71 to 92 percent of students saying that they will not text and drive, and an increase
of 81 to 100 percent of students saying that they will not ride with impaired drivers.
For more information about Death Experience, contact Suzanne Khambata, FNP at (619)
388-2774 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tags: Student Health Services, Death Experience