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Students Learn About P.A.S.S. – Person Assigned to Stay Sober 

BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS – AUGUST 23, 2013 – Back-to-school at The University of Texas at Brownsville, as with all colleges and universities, means not only back to the books but also back to parties, weekend outings and sporting events. The Office of Student Affairs, in collaboration with Texas Department of Transportation, is implementing a program to help everyone return home safely. 
 
UTB is one of three schools in Texas selected by TxDOT to implement P.A.S.S. – Person Appointed to Stay Sober – a user-friendly program that can be accessed by an app and through Facebook. 
 
“We know alcohol is a social reality among college-age individuals, and we want them to develop smart planning habits if they’re going to drink,” said Douglas Stoves, Assistant Dean of Residential Life and Auxiliary Services. “This program makes a lot of sense, and we are pleased that TxDOT selected UTB to participate in this pilot program.” 
 
The P.A.S.S. app integrates with Facebook’s existing event-planning component, enabling users to coordinate sober rides. Once a Facebook event has been created through the app, friends can coordinate who will be sober drivers and see how many openings they have in their vehicles for friends who choose to drink. 
 
“The app also enables passengers to offer to compensate the sober drivers for their time and gas money,” said Greek Council President Eva Robles, a senior bilingual education major from Brownsville. “I think that is a great idea; the driver has their gas covered and still has something left over for incentive.”  
 
Student leaders – including officers of Student Government, the Greek fraternities and sororities, and the many campus clubs – were briefed on the program at a meeting held on Wednesday, Aug. 21. 
 
Representatives from the student organizations will share the P.A.S.S. information with their respective groups to help spread the word among the student body. 
 
Information stations to acquaint students with P.A.S.S, as well as all campus organizations and clubs, will be set up in three high traffic campus locations – the Student Union Lawn, the Courtyard of the Education and Business Complex and the University Boulevard Library Lawn – from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 26 and Tuesday, Aug. 27. 
 
According to TxDOT, the Lower Rio Grande Valley saw 378 alcohol-related motor vehicle traffic crashes in 2012, leading to 117 serious injuries and five fatalities.  
 
“It is well known that college life often includes some events that involve drinking,” said Phil Wilson, TxDOT executive director. “In those situations, we hope this app will encourage college students to leave the driving to someone who has not been drinking. Crashes related to alcohol are entirely preventable, and we feel this new technology offers yet another option to curb drunk driving.” 
 
The other schools participating in the trial P.A.S.S. program are the University of North Texas (UNT) in Denton and Midwestern State University (MWSU) in Wichita Falls. According to TxDOT, the selection of the three schools was based on difference in campus size, geography within the state, and proximity to cities of different sizes. 
 
For more information on P.A.S.S., contact Sergio Martinez, Executive Director of Student Engagement, at 956-882-5138 or sergio.martinez3@utb.edu.  
 

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