After a few months of hard work and years of diligence, University of Nevada, Reno undergraduate student Sabrina Budner has created the new statewide Nevada Underage Drinking Awareness Day, which takes place Sunday, May 4.
Budner drafted a proclamation at the beginning of March, asking to have a day set aside to raise awareness about underage drinking. In April, Gov. Sandoval approved Budner's request.
"It was really exciting to find out," Budner said. "I've struggled with alcohol problems in the past and turned my life around. It's important to me to give back from what I've learned."
Budner's inspiration stems from her experience with underage drinking. During her freshman year at the University, she was caught drinking by campus police. Budner voluntarily began a six-month educational intervention offered through the University's Office of Student Conduct called OnTRAC. One of four programs available to students abusing drugs and/or alcohol, OnTRAC requires students to attend weekly counseling, develop goals, participate in wellbeing assessments and create a success plan to develop treatment, responsibility and accountability on campus.
"Sabrina didn't simply 'get through' the program, she worked hard to identify and heal the parts of herself that drove her desire to use," Jo Harvey, program specialist for the Office of Student Conduct and Budner's mentor through the OnTRAC program, said. "While she has always been bright, kind and warm-she wasn't really free. Now she is able to truly experience life and rise to her full potential, and this most recent accomplishment is proof she is doing just that."
Today, Budner has an internship at a nonprofit organization that educates and promotes positive actions, ACCEPT, and is seeking to educate parents and teachers about underage drinking.
"They say 'just one drink' won't hurt," Budner says. "But according to a study by the Center for Science in the Public Interest, alcohol is a factor in the death of nearly 4,700 minors a year. It also says those who drink underage are seven times as likely to develop addiction and substance abuse problems."
As part of the day of awareness, the public is invited to a forum event the evening of May 4. Speakers at the event, including Budner, will discuss underage drinking as it relates to law, health, peer pressure, and alternative hobbies.
"The idea of the Town Hall and the Awareness Day is to give the community the resources and education they need to empower themselves to take control of their own lives, and to encourage people to make a positive change at home," Budner said. "I hope by raising awareness about underage drinking that the message will go farther than just substance abuse, that it will affect things like teen pregnancy or traffic fatalities, and that by preventing one destructive act, other bad things can be prevented as well."
Budner will be graduating from the University this spring with a degree in community health sciences and an emphasis in public health. After college, Budner intends to continue her current internship with Access for Community and Cultural Education Programs and Trainings.
Underage Drinking Awareness Day is sponsored by the City of Reno, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, and Access for Community and Cultural Education Programs and Trainings. The event will take place from 3 to 4:30 p.m., Sunday, May 4, at Greater Light Christian Center, 2400 W. 7th St.