Mustang Mile Raises Nearly $4,500 for Carson Starkey-Inspired Research Center at Cal Poly

Cal Poly’s seventh annual Mustang Mile event raised nearly $4,500 to support Aware Awake Alive, a national prevention program founded after the hazing and alcohol poisoning death of Cal Poly freshman Carson Starkey in 2008.

The event, held May 17, drew nearly 400 competitors in a newly revamped obstacle course at Cal Poly’s Doerr Family Field.

“This event was a tremendous outpouring of support for a worthy cause that celebrates and honors Carson’s life,” said Keith Humphrey, Cal Poly’s vice president for student affairs. “It showed that many members of our campus feel a strong connection to his story and our life-saving programs.”

Scott and Julia Starkey created Aware Awake Alive in honor of their son and to raise awareness about the dangers of alcohol poisoning, hazing and binge drinking through a variety of educational campaigns and programs. The program provides peer-to-peer education and training to help young people build the skills and confidence they need to be proactive bystanders. Its programs and messaging have been widely adopted throughout the California State University system and at several high school and university campuses nationwide.

In 2017, the Starkey family donated Aware Awake Alive to Cal Poly to broaden its mission and evolve into a university-based research center.

In turn, the university’s Student Affairs division in February 2018 launched WITH US: Center for Bystander Intervention, a multi-issue bystander intervention research center. The center aims to inspire peer-led movements of accountability that promote health and safety, prevent violence, and empower proactive intervention to help others. 

The Aware Awake Alive brand and mission lives on as an alcohol poisoning/hazing prevention-focused program through WITH US.

“This coming December will mark 10 years since Carson lost his life,” said Michael Eberhard, WITH US program coordinator. “In that time, many young people continued to die from alcohol poisoning and hazing with stories similar to Carson. Awareness events such as the Mustang Mile are a fun and engaging way to keep this relevant and important conversation going so that Cal Poly never endures another preventable tragedy.”   

For more information about WITH US and Aware Awake Alive or to make a tax-deductible donation online, go to: or

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Contact Diego Abeloos


Posted on:
May 21, 2018

Written by:
WITH US Team / June 12, 2018

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