Editorial: Fewer hospitalizations, humiliations with better alcohol strategies

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Author: The Occidental College Editorial Board

 

Just one weekend before Occidental invites crowds of alumni and community members to celebrate the school’s 125th Anniversary Founders Day, current students will be “shipwrecked” on the quad for Programming Board’s annual spring dance, previously named “Sex on the Beach.”  Not surprisingly, the thought of a large on-campus dance is worrisome based on the alcohol-related incidents of previous dances, namely the fall semester fiasco of Splatter. While there is little the administration can do to completely prevent underage drinking, there are a few key alterations that can be made to prevent hospitalizations and a blemish on the college’s record just days before their highly publicized celebration.

    One important change necessary to lessen the occurrences of alcohol-related problems would be to allow students re-entry into campus events. Often, students feel the need to binge drink before a dance begins because many students enter with the mentality that the alcohol needs to last for four hours. Allowing re-entry would encourage students to pace themselves, reducing the danger of over-indulgence.

    Secondly, changing the current policy of turning away “visibly inebriated” students puts the drunkest back out on the streets alone as opposed to allowing them to be under supervision of someone who could help them. In fact, the better solution is to have an alternative area for students who Campus Safety deems dangerously intoxicated. These students will be asked to sit out of the dance in this alternative area where a designated volunteer monitors them until they sober up enough to enter the dance. Students may leave this area at any time.

    Recently formed student organization “Friends Just Ask” has begun to work towards a collaboration between students and administrators to create a culture of caring within the Occidental community. Efforts such as these should be commended, expanded and institutionalized.

Following the example of the students who created the “Friends Just Ask” organization, students should take accountability for themselves and practice responsible drinking habits. Rather than simply taking care of friends once they are too drunk, students should take preventative measures to avoid consuming too much alcohol before the dance.

If every member of the community takes care of one another, the “Shipwrecked” dance will run more smoothly than previous campus events this year.

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