Misericorida University students stepped inside the 30-foot long trailer to see a 25-foot interior wall. That wall listed the names of 1,000 Pennsylvanians killed because someone decided to drink and drive. "It was actually really shocking," said Misericordia University Junior Ashley Benz. "I personally don't know anybody that's died from a DUI but looking in there they had just, I mean, there's hundreds of names."
Darcy Brodmerkel is Misericorida's Director of Student Activities as well as the university's Substance Abuse Counselor. It's been her two-year personal mission to bring the memorial on campus to educate students. "One decision could change their whole life and so we just try to keep things out here and just give them that awareness," said Ms. Brodmerkel.
Senior Jessica Harper and Junior Christelle Patrice serve on Misericordia's Substance Abuse Peer Education Club which supported the event. "Having friends you know engaging in drinking activities, it's a big problem," said Ms. Harper. Ms. Patrice added, "I just wanted to show people what was going on with this, the DUI's and drinking and sobriety stops and all that."
The DUI Victims Moving Memorial arrived on campus less than a week after a State Senate Judiciary Committee passed two bills to increase fines for public drunkenness and use some of those fees to fund preventative programs. The proposed legislation would increase fines for public drunkenness from $300 to $1,000 and allow college towns to tack-on a $100 fee to several alcohol-related crimes."I think that it would be a great idea for them to bump up the fine," said Ms. Patrice. "And more education in the college and the high schools and everywhere around the area, I think it would be a fantastic idea."
The ultimate goal is to drive home the danger of DUI. "Just the awareness, like this wall right here is enough to make me step back and be like, whoa," said Ms. Benz. "One drink really, like one sip can affect you."
The DUI Victms Moving Memorial is based upon the DUI Victms Memorial Garden located in Harrisburg.