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OkSOBERfest participants gulp down root beer, games, prizes
Jessica Kenyon
Antelope Staff

Kegs…of root beer— It sounds like a party. Throw in contests, prizes, pizza and hot wings, and you’re set. UNK students started their Halloween celebration a night early in the student union on Oct. 30

OkSOBERfest, the annual event that includes Dance, Dance Revolution contests on a PS2, Guitar Hero contests, and free play on a PS3, Wii and projector was a major hit for the third year.

“It’s great that students are able to have a safe night of fun with so many activities and your friends,” sophomore elementary education major Ashley Porter of Nelson said.

In the fall of 2003, members of Peer Health Education started Alcohol Free Night. Three years later, the Peer Health Educators (student volunteers who are part of the Department of Counseling & Health Care) wanted to change the name to something a little more fun, and that’s when OkSOBERfest came about.

“While many students search for parties during Halloween weekend, most students find it comforting knowing they can do many of the same things at OkSOBERfest that they would at any other party, only it’s safer here and without drinking here,” Porter said.

Friday night was also filled with karaoke, poker games, a costume contest and even a television game show.

“Fear Factor is our big, big event where we have four rounds: R1 edible puke, R2 real bugs that are seasoned, R3 tuna Twinkies and R4 a blended mystery of questionable mixed ingredients that smell bad,” Health Education Coordinator Ismael Torres said. For the past two years Fear Factor has gathered an average of about 25 contestants willing to eat gross stuff for an iPod Nano.

“We’ve given things as big as a couple of Wiis in the past away, but this year we are sticking to iPod Nanos for surveys and Fear Factor, and an assortment of other prizes for the costume contest,” Torres said.

UNK students can also get questions answered by the Kearney Police Department volunteers and take a sobriety test with several levels of beer goggles that distort balance.

OkSOBERfest really does take a year of preparation. “The Monday following OkSOBERfest, I walk over to the Nebraskan and reserve the date for the next year. Then that next week I talk with students and staff about changes that need to be made for the next year,” Torres said.

In the early spring Torres starts to seek funds to help sponsor the event. The majority of funding for this event comes from the Buffalo County Community Health Partners. Academic Success and the Division of Student Affairs also provide funding, along with the Department of Counseling & Health Care and the event’s volunteers.

“All of September and October is used to promote the event mainly through word of mouth as myself or Peer Educators give around 10 to 12 presentations promoting the event to other students,” Torres said.

OkSOBERfest is just a night of fun where students are exposed to games, music and friends without alcohol being a factor. UNK students and staff are given bracelets that give access to food, games and prizes and also allow the Peer Health Educators to keep track of attendance. Last year over 400 UNK students and staff attended.



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