Mark Sterner shares eye-opening story with WCU students

To support alcohol awareness at, WCU several  students gathered to listen to DUI leadership speaker Mark Sterner, a fraternity brother who had quite a tragic story to tell.

After every seat was filled in the UC Grandroom, Sterner showed his authentic home video of himself and his fraternity brothers, which was intended to be a reflection of all of their spring break fun. Sterner had already mentioned that he was responsible for killing three of his brothers, which quickly dampened the mood and filled the audience with gloom.

As Sterner addressed the students after sharing his spring break video, you could have heard a pin drop. It is only on a rare occasion that you can convince 500 students to all turn off their cell phones, stop chatting and really listen to someone speak. Sterner’s message really struck a chord with students and the way he told his story was very powerful.

“I saw Mark Sterner when I was an undergraduate student at Western Illinois University,” said Assistant Director for Greek Life, Michele Peterson. “I still remember the impact it had on me and my fellow students to this day.”

“His story is a great message, and it’s timely. We wanted to have something to be impactful before spring break,” said Coordinator for the Department of Student Community Ethics and advisor of Greeks Advocating the Mature Management of Alcohol, Miles Komuves. “We want to make sure everyone is safe.”

It surprised many to see so many members of Greek Life in attendance, including some of the sponsors who are also involved with Greek Life. They also have high hopes that the Sterner’s message got across and made an impact.

“I was thrilled – the Greek Life turnout was awesome. I’ve never seen Greek students be that silent ever, which really means they were listening,” said Komuves. “I hope it was effective from keeping people from driving drunk and I hope people don’t continue to think ‘it wont happen to me.’”

Greek Life is typically stereotyped to have more of a problem with alcohol, which made all the Greeks in attendance to the event all that more meaningful.

“Greek students are a high risk population. Some parts of Greek Life have official DD systems, but we aren’t sure how organized they are,” said Komuves. “I wouldn’t say it’s more of a problem for Greeks, but I would recognize that they are a high risk group”

According to Peterson, Greek Life currently tries to combat the issue of drunk driving by having risk management policies that include sober monitors and designated drivers at various events. In addition, members of these value based organizations that promote brotherhood and sisterhood should be looking after one another so accidents like Sterner’s don’t happen again.

“I have had many students approach me about his presentation, explaining how much they enjoyed it and how his message really puts drinking and driving into perspective,” said Peterson. “I hope that all of our students keep his message in mind during our upcoming spring break, as well as throughout the entire year.”

Sterner didn’t preach or tell any students what to do, but instead put his own face into the tragic consequences of impaired driving. Sterner helped students realize that the simple choices they make, such as drinking and driving, can cause an everlasting impact on their friends, families and themselves