“Students are coming to college with a great deal more knowledge and direct experience with alcohol than previous generations,” said MARK STERNER.
He has spoken to more than two million students in the last decade, and he has noticed a difference. “Today’s students have been sheltered less from the positives and negatives of alcohol,” he said. Whereas in future generations, many students had very little experience with the realities of alcohol and drug abuse before landing on campus. Mark says students today are much more aware.
“These young people have seen so much on reality TV, they already know the most common mistakes people make under the influence,” he said. “Our celebrity culture has dished up a thousand examples of people making bad decisions.”
Perhaps that’s why Mark’s keynote DUI: A Powerful Lesson© has been the top booking keynote in CAMPUSPEAK history. In it, he describes the final night of his senior year Spring Break. Mark was intoxicated at the wheel that night, and three of his fraternity brothers lost their lives. In his program, he shows video the young men shot minutes before the tragic crash. For Mark, the incident not only had a profound impact on his life, but the lives of his family and the family of his friends who died in the accident. Instead of being the first in his family to go to college, he would be the first to go to prison. In sharing his very personal and tragic story, as well as actual video footage of his final Spring Break, Mark hopes to inspire students to think twice about their decisions, and not make the same one he did. He does this in a quiet, non-confrontational style and purposefully avoids preaching to students about what they should and should not do. He leaves those decisions up to the students.
“Students appreciate real life stories, with videos and pictures. That’s the only thing that’s real to them,” Mark said. Although he speaks to thousands of students every month, he worries that messages about critical decision-making involving alcohol don’t reach every student on campus.
“I am most often speaking to fraternities and sororities, or student-athletes. I suppose that’s because it’s easy to pull those groups together, or maybe because they are identified as high risk groups,” Mark said. “But who’s challenging the French Literature major who drinks and drives every weekend?”
Mark believes campus educators need to reach further to get these messages out to students who don’t identify with an easily programmable student group. “All students need to consider their limits and consider that bad things can happen to anyone when poor decisions are made.”
Mark is your most impactful choice for alcohol awareness, Safe Spring Break, student-athletes and wellness programming. He is a member of Tau Kappa Epsilon, and is perfect for any Fraternity and Sorority Life programming, especially when emphasizing the importance of caring for your brothers and sisters. When booking Mark, however, think of every student who could benefit from Mark’s powerful story. For more information, please visit campuspeak.com/sterner.