Manchester University
Oak Leaves

September 30, 2016


'Sober Thoughts' VIA Reinforces Consequences of Drugs and Alcohol

Destinee Boutwell

The Sober Thoughts VIA held on Monday, Sept. 19, started with a nine foot ladder being pulled out of a small bag and ended with hypnotized male students giving birth to twins on stage. Among the illusions, mind tricks and magic, however, there was an important message that speaker Robert Hackenson Jr. presented to the audience in attendance. 

As 7 p.m. approached and the event grew closer, the excited buzz of students filled Cordier Auditorium. First years swarmed the auditorium because the show doubled as requirement for their FYS classes and as a VIA credit. 

Entitled “Sober Thoughts,” the show was advertised around campus as being “edutainment” for college students about using drugs and alcohol. Hackenson, a professional speaker, magician and certified hypnotist, came to educate students about the possible consequences of using drugs and alcohol, while also keeping the audience entertained and engaged. 

First year Sophia Harner, was not disappointed by the show. “I thought it was fun and a pleasurable experience; it kept me engaged and entertained because of the mystery and surprise that was around every corner,” she said. “I feel that he presented an old and worn-out topic in a new and engaging way.”
“Sober Thoughts” was by no means a new message for the audience, as most students had learned in high school about the consequences of drugs and drinking, but there was something fresh about the way that Hackenson presented the message. “In high school we were lectured at,” Harner said, “but tonight he provided information that would help us to make our own decisions without stern pressure to abstain from drinking.”
Sophomore Cory Rowland found the show to be entertaining and educational as well. “I enjoyed the show very much because it had its own style of teaching something new without it being boring,” he said.
The presentation was nonthreatening and light-hearted, but reinforced to the audience of the possible negative consequences of drinking. “I think the message and the way it was presented is something that should be spoken to schools around the country,” Rowland said.
Junior Clayton Capes enjoyed the show and believed it lived up to its advertisement. “It was entertaining,” Capes said, “and I strongly felt that his message was vital for college students, especially after the tragedy that happened last year at Manchester.”
This presentation on the consequences of using drugs and alcohol really hit home for many students in attendance. Many witnessed first-hand the impact of driving under the influence, as Manchester experienced the death of three of its students this past spring in a traffic accident caused when a driver in a separate car operated his vehicle while intoxicated.
As students flooded out of the auditorium after the show, there was a buzz of conversations and almost palpable excitement. During the final stage of the show, Hackenson hypnotized students and invited them on stage where they carried out scenarios related to the messages presented in other parts of his presentation.