Updated: 12/12/2013 11:06 PM
Created: 12/12/2013 9:38 PM WDIO.com
By: Maarja Anderson
A UMD student continues to improve at Regions Hospital after spending nearly 10 hours outside in subzero weather. Police say alcohol was involved.
Many questions still surround what exactly led up to the incident, but it has rekindled a community conversation regarding student drinking.
It's no secret college kids like to go out.
"[I go out] a lot of weekends, and mostly just to houses," said Rachel Holt, a student at UMD.
"I would say we both know our limit," added her friend, Emily Carlson.
But drinking can be dangerous. Lauretta Perry is a chemical health educator at UMD. She said alcohol poisoning is a big concern on campuses nationwide, so they educate.
"It isn't about scare tactics, it isn't about preaching abstinence, it's about giving them accurate information that will reduce their harms," she explained.
UMD isn't alone, it's a group effort. St. Scholastica, Lake Superior College and other groups have formed the Tri-Campus and Community Coalition on Student Drinking, or T3C. They work to get the word out.
"We do multiple attempts at prevention messaging that could be classroom presentations, that could be tabling down at the Kirby Student Center, or that can be posters that we've created that are placed around town," said Perry.
One of the posters is meant to prevent drunk driving. It has a QR code that links to a listing of cabs and their phone numbers. Another gives signs of alcohol overdose.
Businesses are part of the group, too, like Grandma's Sports Garden, which is a college hot spot.
"We strive to provide a fun and exciting atmosphere but realize how important it is to serve safely and responsibly to our guests," said General Manager Matt Baumgartner.
They've started a shuttle bus with Custom Cab, shuttling people between campus and Canal Park on Fridays and Saturdays for a small fee. That way, Baumgartner said, a sober ride is always readily available.
Teri Lommel, Alyssa's mother, says a fund has been set up by friends to help pay for medical expenses. If you'd like to donate, send a monetary gift to the following address:
Alyssa Lommel Fund
Bremer Bank 1100 West St. Germain St.
P.O. Box 847
St. Cloud, MN 56302-0847
There will also be a spaghetti dinner feed on Saturday, raising money to help pay for medical costs.
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