Hamilton College is hosting the "Friends," exhibit, a memorial to young people whose lives have been lost to automobile accidents involving drunk drivers, from Jan. 20 through Feb. 20 in the Blood Fitness Center Juice Bar. It is free and open to the public. The exhibit is sponsored by Hamilton's Athletics Department.
The Louis Henry Morgan Institute of SUNYIT prepared the exhibition with the New York State STOP-DWI Foundation and Union College to portray the unintended consequences of drinking and driving. Titled "Friends," the main purpose of the exhibit is to make teenagers and college-age students aware of how quickly the lives of those involved in DWI tragedies, as well as those of families and friends of the victims, can change.
The exhibit highlights the lives of four Colgate University students who died in an alcohol-related auto accident in November of 2000. Numerous personal effects, including photographs of the victims' accomplishments, books, trophies and stuffed animals are included as a part of the display. Also displayed are pictures of the fatal crash, police documents, interviews with family and friends and a timeline outlining the students last hours up to the accident.
The single-car crash at Colgate involved seven college students headed back to campus after a night out. A group of four girls flagged down a passing Jeep in order to avoid walking home in the rain. The three boys who picked them up were happy to offer a ride. Less than a minute after picking up the girls, the driver of the Jeep lost control on the slick road and crashed into an oak tree. The impact killed four of the passengers -- Katie Almeter, Emily Collins, Kevin King and Rachel Nargiso.
The exhibition focuses on the lives of the victims prior to the crash, emphasizing individual histories through photos, possessions, interviews of victims' friends and families, and audio and visual recordings. A timeline traces the events of the victims' last day, including a detailed account of the crash itself. The combination of these elements creates an emotional reaction in observers, with the goal of behavioral change. This approach creates a powerful message that may deter college-age students from driving after consuming alcohol.