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Alcohol company holds multimedia competition

A leader in the U.S. spirits and wine industry is inviting students to submit creative projects promoting responsible drinking as part of a contest to win a 10-week paid internship in New York City.

Pernod Ricard is sponsoring the contest as a part of the national movement against binge drinking and drunk driving. The challenge is open to students at various colleges and universities in the New York area.

Kelsey Leveille, the talent acquisition manager for PR-USA, said the purpose of the challenge is to promote responsible drinking.

The event, sponsored by the makers of Absolut Vodka, Kahlúa and Jameson Irish Whisky, is asking for submissions from students 21 years old or older, said Diane Castelnuovo-Tedesco, owner of Fraîche PR. They can submit videos, posters, web creations, poems or pictures.

“[Pernod Ricard] tried not to make it too prescriptive so people could use their creativity, and I think they don’t want to limit students at all,” she said.

The winner of the challenge would receive a 10-week paid internship at Pernod Ricard’s New York City headquarters, Castelnuovo-Tedesco said.

During the internship, the student would bring their project to life, receive mentorship and career counseling, gain recognition in the company’s internal newsletter and earn the potential for course credit through his or her university, according to the French-American Entrepreneurship Award website.

Students can enter individually or in pairs and must send in their submissions by Feb. 28, according to the website.

“I think what’s really going to be hard is being creative on a topic that can be somewhat very black and white,” Leveille said.

Once the winner of the Pernod Ricard USA Student Challenge makes their project a reality, she said they would present their creation on a platform at a responsible day drinking event in the spring that would feature guest speakers on the importance of drinking in moderation.

Binge drinking occurs less frequently but encourages heavier drinking, said Marsha Bates, a professor in the Department of Psychology.

“People don’t necessarily make a decision to drink heavily before they go out, but once you start drinking, it increases your risk-taking behavior and impairs your ability to make good decisions,” she said.

Because of classes and other responsibilities, students do not drink everyday but instead drink heavily on a smaller number of days, she said.

“In a college environment, a lot of the drinking is around social events — it’s about having fun,” she said.

The classic situation of a binge episode for a male is five or more drinks in two hours, she said, and for a female it is two or more drinks in two hours.

Bates advises students to set standards for themselves if they plan to drink.

“One good thing is to not drink on an empty stomach, so you’ll keep your blood alcohol level, relatively speaking, somewhat lower,” she said.

She said another tip is to drink a glass of water between two alcoholic drinks.

“The difficulty with that is that once an individual starts drinking they forget about maybe some of the conscious goals and objectives [they] have and just start going with more of [their] feelings in the moment,” she said.

Rutgers students have also been involved with the campaign against drunk driving.

Peter Kharmandarian, School of Arts and Sciences first-year student, created “Drive Safe,” a device created to prevent drunken people from using their phones or starting their cars.

According to the Rutgers University Police Department’s “Safety Matters” report, 730 minors were charged with possession of alcohol from 2010 to 2012.

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