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Spring Break Awareness Week keeps students safe

By Katherine Martinez
On March 4, 2009

With spring break just around the corner, students with planned trips are aching to get out of snowy Storrs and into the warm sun. Despite the excitement of a break from class, it is important that students remember to be safe this vacation. For this reason, the Health Education Office has sponsored Spring Break Awareness Week.

The week is geared to help all students have a safe and fun spring break. There was tabling in Northwest, Towers and South dining halls which provided students with abstinence kits, condoms, lubricant, sunblock and informational handouts. Students could also answer trivia questions for fun prizes or packs of gum.

Additionally, Health Education printed spring break editions of the "Stall Street News" for resident bathrooms. They also offered "Spring Break Taboo," - a fun and informative game - to residence halls at the request of CA's, according to Health Education Coordinator Joleen Nevers.

Nevers advises students going on spring break to wear sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 and to wear sunglasses to protect their eyes.

When consuming alcohol, Nevers recommends alternating drinks with non-alcoholic beverages. She stressed the importance of being aware of your surroundings and knowing how to contact the police.

Students should be careful with their I.D.s as well.

"If people are traveling anywhere, keep a photocopy at home and in the hotel in case you lose your identification," Nevers said.

As for the spring breakers headed to Mexico: on Feb. 20, the U.S. Department of State issued a travel alert for U.S. citizens traveling to or living in Mexico. "It is imperative that travelers understand the risks of travel to Mexico, how best to avoid dangerous situations, and whom to contact if one becomes a crime victim," according to the U.S. State Department website.

A travel alert is issued to provide information about short-term dangers in a country that may place a U.S. citizen at risk. Short-term risks may be due to natural disasters, terrorist attacks, national elections or high-profile events, among other reasons. The U.S. government cites increased violence as the reason for this alert.

Although most of the increased violence has occurred among the U.S.-Mexico border, it is important for travelers to be safe wherever they are in the country. The Web site advises travelers to leave an itinerary with a family member at home, carry a cell phone that has roaming capabilities and avoid wearing flashy jewelry or displaying expensive items. As always, travel with a companion whenever possible.

"I went to Mexico last year and I'm glad I'm not going back this year because of the travel alert," said Phil Nizzardo, an 8th-semester accounting major. "I am going on a cruise, but it doesn't stop in Mexico at all."

The State Department advises students who do chose to travel to Mexico despite the ban to be as informed as possible. For more information, the State Department web site has a specific page for spring break students traveling in Mexico, in addition to updates about the travel alert.


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