Athens, Ga. – Caroline Wingate, a second-year pre-journalism student at the University of Georgia, will host a screening of the documentary “Death by Alcohol: The Sam Spady Story” on March 5 at 7 p.m. in the Tate Student Center Theater. A panel discussion on binge drinking and the warning signs of alcohol poisoning will follow the film.
Wingate said she was deeply moved by the life and death of Samantha “Sam” Spady, a 19-year-old Colorado State University student who succumbed to alcohol poisoning in 2004, which moved her to share Sam’s story with fellow students.
“This is a program in which we as students can be reminded of the risky choices we sometimes make and the consequences we may face,” said Wingate. “The program focuses on how to help each other when we are making risky decisions.
“This tragic story does not have to be a UGA student’s story. We can take care of each other and hopefully recognize the fragility of life through Sam’s story,” she added.
Wingate will moderate the panel discussion, which will feature Mark Richt, UGA head football coach; Robert Ross, a counselor with the University Health Center’s Fontaine Center for Alcohol Awareness and Education; and Betria Stinson, alcohol and other drug prevention health educator at the health center.
Sam Spady was a high-achieving student who died in a campus fraternity house after consuming too many shots of vodka. Her parents formed the Sam Spady Foundation and produced a documentary to honor her memory and to promote a college alcohol awareness program with an emphasis on alcohol poisoning and high-risk consumption.
The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence reports that alcohol-poisoning deaths occur hundreds of times annually on college campuses. A 2002 study by the council indicated that the number of deaths each year related to binge drinking by college students may be as many as 1,400, taking into consideration driving accidents and other fatal injuries related to binge drinking episodes.
Admission is free for the campus community, and tickets are not required. The program is a Blue Card event for students and is supported by the UGA Office of the Dean of Students.