Public Affairs, The California State University

All 23 CSU Campuses to Use ‘Aware Awake Alive’ Program

Media Contact

For the CSU:
Erik Fallis
(562) 951-4800

For Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo:
Matt Lazier
(805) 756-7109

For Aware Awake Alive:
David Wyatt
(512) 904-9928

Related Links and Information

Program created in memory of Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo student becomes a critical part of the toolbox of services to reduce alcohol abuse and poisoning

California State University Chancellor Timothy P. White committed to roll-out the Aware Awake Alive peer-to-peer program to all 23 campuses as another tool for identifying and acting on the symptoms of alcohol poisoning. The chancellor also committed that the CSU would translate the program materials into Spanish and that student leaders would receive training in the program from the team at California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo.

These commitments were made during the CSU Board of Trustees meeting on July 23, 2013, as the chancellor and trustees reviewed the sixth biennial report on Campus Alcohol Education and Prevention Programs.

The board, students, faculty, staff, alumni and members of the public heard from Scott and Julia Starkey, the parents of Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo freshman Carson Starkey who died of alcohol poisoning in 2008 at 18 years old. The parents co-founded the Aware Awake Alive nonprofit to ensure the prevention of needless alcohol-related tragedy becomes a lasting legacy of their son.

“You said Carson’s life ended and his legacy began, but it’s also now your legacy,” said CSU Chancellor White to Scott and Julia Starkey. “Perhaps our action will be one more step toward making his death, and all it represents to so many other families, a little bit less painful.”

Empowering Students to Make the Call

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in three college students binge drink. A 2005 study from Dr. Ralph Hingson of the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) projects that a college student (age 18 to 24) dies every 44 hours from alcohol poisoning in the United States.

The Aware Awake Alive program is already empowering CSU students on eight campuses – San Luis Obispo, Chico, Fresno, Long Beach, Northridge, San Bernardino, San Diego and San José – to make the right call when faced with an alcohol poisoning medical emergency. Cal Poly Pomona is preparing to incorporate the program into its alcohol awareness and education efforts next year.

Aware Awake Alive communicates to high school and college students directly with a “Drunk or dying?” message that is simple, actionable and non-judgmental. Web-based tools are designed to be intuitive and simple to use for young people and those who influence them, like parents and teachers.

Free resources are available via and the program engages youth through social media. When confronted with real-life situations, provides a 3-click decision tree for peers with web-enabled phones to help identify alcohol poisoning symptoms and take proper action.


About the California State University
The California State University is the largest system of senior higher education in the country, with 23 campuses, approximately 437,000 students and 44,000 faculty and staff. The CSU awards about 96,000 degrees annually and since its creation in 1961 has conferred nearly 2.8 million. The CSU is renowned for the quality of its teaching and for the job-ready graduates it produces. The mission of the CSU is to provide high-quality, affordable education to meet the ever changing needs of the people of California. With its commitment to excellence, diversity and innovation, the CSU is the university system that is working for California. Connect with and learn more about the CSU at CSU Social Media. Show how the CSU matters to you and take action.

About Aware Awake Alive
The Austin, Texas-based, nationally focused organization prevents loss of life to alcohol poisoning by educating teens, young adults and parents on the dangers and symptoms of alcohol overdose by generating awareness and dialog around openness and amnesty-based policy. Through a national awareness campaign, on-campus collaboration empowering students with powerful resources, and advocacy on a state-by state-level, the organization is working daily to dispel the myths of alcohol poisoning. After the death of Carson in 2008, the Starkey family formed the nonprofit that became “Aware Awake Alive”.

In 2009, the organization worked with Texas Senator Kirk Watson to secure the Carson Starkey Alcohol Awareness and Education Act. This legislation permanently places alcohol education in the curriculum of all Texas public schools. In 2011, Aware Awake Alive and Senator Watson created the Texas 911 Lifeline Law. This state law offers limited immunity to minors who do the right thing and seek help in an alcohol related emergency.

Aware Awake Alive works closely with high schools and universities implementing the Aware Awake Alive Toolbox program on campuses across the country. The organization actively coordinates with administrators and students to help customize a unique program specific to each campus, while continuing to support their local communities of Austin, Texas and San Luis Obispo, California by providing educational scholarships.

Learn more and get involved at

*images courtesy of Aware Awake Alive