A modern day Renaissance man was on Capitol Hill with The Century Council last week to tackle dangerous binge drinking at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). This important issue was researched for the first time by Morgan State University in 2012. Attitudes and behaviors of HBCU students were compared with their peers attending majority white colleges and universities nationally. It’s important to get the message out effectively on this issue and that calls for a person of many talents who welcomes a challenge. Luckily, The Century Council is fortunate enough to partner with a doctor, a director and a basketball star all in one…Dr. Shaquille O’Neal!
Presenting on Capitol Hill before 250 staffers and 20 Members of Congress, Dr. O’Neal shared his commitment to stop binge drinking and announced a project with Morehouse College to create a new communications campaign to fight binge drinking among African American students.
This vision for reducing binge drinking is shared by Congressman Emanuel Cleaver, II (D-MO), whose best friend was killed in a drunk driving crash caused by a binge drinker. Calling it a “historic effort”, Rep. Cleaver praised Dr. O’Neal, The Century Council and the distillers that fund The Century Council for looking at the high risk drinking that occurs on HBCU campuses. Rep. Cleaver also acknowledged that while binge drinking trends are declining, more must be done and our combined efforts are an important part of the national effort to reduce dangerous binge drinking.
But the best summary of why The Century Council and our partners are working on this issue came from Shaq. “The problem with binge drinking is, once a kid binge-drinks and goes out and nothing happens, he thinks it’s OK. But if you make the one mistake, you can never come home. If you make the one mistake, your family is going to be suffering or somebody else’s family is going to be suffering.”