The Case Against Drunken Student Orgies

Amy Julian

College Fest, for anyone who doesn’t know, is a huge marketing and advertising carnival at which businesses, who target mostly college-aged males, try to solicit their products, services, and beliefs. Everything to PETA’s fanatic cries of “Stop animal abuse! Petition against KFC!” to free STD screening and condoms at the Planned Parenthood booth, cleverly located beside a table where I got a free Holy Bible and religious advice, can be heard and had. Within this bewildering diversity, one would think there would be something to satisfy anyone’s tastes. Don’t get me wrong; I was able to fill up two bags of free swag including an array of pens that would put Staples to shame, promotional t-shirts, and even a pair of tickets to a Boston Bruins game. But what struck me was the disproportionate number of booths subliminally promoting their products through a vice that many college students are far too familiar with: alcohol.

At a booth offering a chance to win free weekend trips to Canada, the selling point for their services was, “Come to Canada with us! The drinking age is 18 at all bars and clubs!” Another booth along the way, peddling energy drinks, had free samples to go along with an ever-dwindling stack of “Cocktail Guides” giving college students a quick-reference recipe guide for making their favorite cocktails using the energy drink as a base. I scoured the premises for anything college-related without alcohol as its selling point. Aside from banks, which attracted a large number of students simply for the amazing display of free stuff, there were a handful of student loan and housing booths. Other than that, my “free gifts” were largely booze related.

Why do I tell you all this? I’m not trying to say that drinking alcohol is bad if you are 21 and do it responsibly. But alcohol use has become such a problem on college campuses in the past decade that binge drinking has become an epidemic. Binge drinking is “the consumption of 5 or more drinks in one sitting for a man and 4 or more drinks in one sitting for a woman” according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. From pictures I’ve seen on Facebook lately, some of my underage peers have chronicled their adventures in alcohol at parties, almost all resulting with a picture of that person passed out with friends around, beers in hand. The NIAAA brought some other statistics caught my attention. For instance, 1,700 college students die each year from alcohol-related injuries. 97,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape. And there’s more. With such statistics, as well as other eye-opening facts about crime, vandalism, personal injury, and future alcoholism, it’s a wonder that many students drink so casually and in such an uncontrolled manner.

I’m not here to tell people not to drink. I’m not trying to preach or act like a tyrant. I’m a college student just like all of you. I like to laugh and have a good time and party. But I also like remembering the fun time I had the night before. I’m just trying to let people know that it gets dangerous when alcohol is promoted in ways that promote sex and socializing. There is a dark side, and you can visit the campus meetings of Alcoholics Anonymous if you need reference. It is possible to have a good time without chugging Jager Bombs and Alabama Slammers.

It makes me sad to see girls my age wasted and sweaty, grinding up on guys they don’t know, and guys taking advantage of girls who are bombed out of their minds. Binge drinking kills people. Be responsible, please.

Now, excuse me while I sort my bag of free pens, Frisbees, and Bibles.