Alcohol Abstinence: It’s not working

By Emma Vatnsdal

vatnsdalem@mnstate.edu

From Thursday evening until the wee hours of Sunday morning, students around the area say “bottoms up” with their friends, either at house parties or right in their dorm rooms.

“What?! Alcohol on OUR dry campus?! How dare you! That is against the rules!” some may say.

Well, my dears, the drinking culture is very much alive and well. Even on our beautiful little campus, it is a problem.

We all know that students are going to drink. That is just what college students do. I do not have a problem with alcohol on campus. Not one problem at all—as long as it is done safely and by those who are old enough to do so. But we all know that is not always the case.

Especially during holidays like Halloween, college parties tend to get bigger and therefore more dangerous.

When these young adults go off to college, they are not casually sipping on wine coolers. Oh no. They are doing shots. They are drinking full bottles of wine and cases of beer. And they are drinking them in as big of quantity and as fast as they can before their RA catches them.

This binge-drinking culture is nothing new. But what happens when binge drinking gets out of hand and someone gets hurt? What happens when that last shot causes someone to pass out? Some of these get so out of hand that students are in need of ambulance—even at 9 o’clock on a Tuesday night.

The way MSUM’s current policy is written, students who are caught with alcohol on campus—whether of age or not—can face a pretty significant punishment. The first offense is nothing more than a written warning and a small fine, but a “level two” or “level three” offense has the potential to get a student on disciplinary probation or suspended.

I understand that actions need to have consequences. I am not disputing that at all. But these consequences are not going to stop kids from drinking.

However, I believe there is more that can be done to prevent that last shot from going down.

Doing more to educate incoming students about what can happen when fun gets out of hand is something that could potentially save a life. Things such as when to call for help, how much is too much and what could happen when things do go too far.

Drinking is not the end of the world. College students getting away for the first time want to get out and experience new things. Some of those new things may include drinking. Whether or not MSUM changes their policy to allow students that are of age on campus to consume fermented grain is not up to me. Educating students is the key.

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