IN the News

Aware Awake Alive: Foundation & Mission

Welcome to the Aware Awake Alive blog. Our vision is a world in which no young life is cut short due to alcohol poisoning. Our mission is to equip students with the knowledge and confidence to prevent lives lost from alcohol poisoning. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 6 people die of alcohol poisoning each day in the United States. Each life lost causes deep pain among our communities. Aware Awake Alive was created after this world lost Carson Starkey.

Carson Starkey

On December 2, 2008, Carson attended a party with his Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity brothers. He was a freshmen architecture student at Cal Poly SLO. At the party, Carson was encouraged to drink large amounts of alcohol. Eventually, Carson became unresponsive. His fraternity brothers took him in the car to get help but decided to turn back in fear of getting in trouble. They took him back inside and placed him on a mattress, thinking he would sleep it off. Carson never woke up. He died from acute alcohol poisoning. His blood alcohol level was .40. You can watch Carson’s full story here. Carson is remembered for his kindness and positive attitude. He always gave more than he received. He lived life with urgency and made the most out of every day.

Following Carson’s death, Carson’s parents created the Texas-based nonprofit With Carson. In 2011, With Carson transitioned into Aware Awake Alive and moved to Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Carson’s parents, Julia and Scott, wanted to use the story of their son to educate others so that other parents do not have to experience the loss of a child.

Carson Starkey and Julia Starkey
“We pull strength from remembering Carson and wanting his memory to continue to live on and that people would know him and know his story and continue to save lives… We really honestly don’t want another family to go through what we’ve gone through.”
– Julia Starkey

Through a focus on education, awareness and dialogue, and partnership, we hope to generate an atmosphere where everyone shares responsibility for supporting and educating one another.

with us

Aware Awake Alive is now housed under WITH US—The National Network for Peer Accountability. The Starkey family created WITH US to help address other social injustices that students face, such as sexual assault and racism. WITH US focuses on outreach, education, research, and resources for bystander intervention.

Check out our blog to stay up to date on alcohol news, legislation, amnesty policies, bystander intervention research, resources, and so much more! All of our posts will aim to support our mission of educating and equipping students to be proactive bystanders and stop social injustices.

Are you passionate about sharing your knowledge? You can join us by writing a guest blog that supports the mission of WITH US or Aware Awake Alive. Please email for more information.

Do you want to become a WITH US partner? Visit our About page and press Join WITH US.


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