The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU students gather around a bucket of markers to write an encouraging note to put in “Welcome to the Shelter” kits at event in mid-April on SMU’s campus.
Dallas homeless recovery center, The Bridge, is a home
Morgan Shiver, Contributor • June 20, 2024
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Make it personal

In the downpour of articles and press releases about SMU’s Task Force on Substance Abuse and Prevention, Red Ribbon Week 2007 is an opportunity for SMU students, faculty and staff to become personally involved in making a stand against the destruction caused by drugs and alcohol. Communities across the country will celebrate Red Ribbon Week on Oct. 20-28 this year. The red ribbon, now a national symbol of drug and alcohol prevention, originated in honor of Enrique Camarena, a slain DEA agent. Camarena grew up in a dirt-floor house saving money so he could put himself through college. After graduation, he joined the Marines, served as a police officer and ultimately as an agent in the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency. His final assignment involved a major drug cartel believed to include officers in the Mexican army, police and government. On the way to meet his wife for lunch on Feb. 7, 1985, five men shoved Camarena in a car. A month later his battered body was found in a shallow grave. He had been tortured to death.To honor his memory and his battle against illegal drugs, Camarena’s friends and neighbors wore red ribbons. Tired of the destruction caused by alcohol and other drugs, parents formed coalitions with the attitude that Camarena held, that one person could make a difference. In the Sept. 28 article in The Daily Campus, “Alcohol violations stacking up at historic rates,” Todd Marchesani, former IFC president attributed the culture of substance abuse at SMU to a lack of personal accountability. Since we’re older and maybe too jaded for D.A.R.E. or “Just Say No” campaigns, Red Ribbon Week is an opportunity to think about responsibility.This semester, I’m working with Mothers Against Drunk Driving, and the majority of volunteers who fight vigilantly against drunk driving and substance abuse do it because their lives were drastically changed by drugs or alcohol. Julie Jones, whose husband was killed by a drunk driver four days before Christmas spoke around the state, said this in an e-mail interview: “I’m not out to take anyone’s fun away. The key is to love yourself and those around you enough not to want to place yourself in what could be a deadly situation. Not only could you shatter your own life – you could shatter an innocent person’s life as well. Exercise responsibility.”I don’t think anyone at SMU needs to hear statistics; we’ve seen the emotional consequences on our campus firsthand. Red Ribbon Week is a chance for us all to become part of the Task Force, to become personally involved in a fight that needs all the help it can get. So whether you wear a red shirt, a red ribbon or just make a personal commitment to be part of the solution, let Red Ribbon Week help SMU.

About the writer:Elizabeth Weddell is a senior CCPA major. She can be reached at [email protected].

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