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Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Dangerous Games on College Campuses

By Marie Jon'

Soon, college students from all over America will start the fall semester. Freshman orientation will begin and there will be a mad dash to join (some not too wholesome) fraternities and sororities. Why degrade a college tradition? Because a good number of the social frat and sorority houses have become perverted "deprogramming" institutions whose mission is to undo everything that conscientious parents have strived to teach their kids through the years they've lived under their tutelage.

Be aware that college has trappings that include all the rituals of campus life. If you have not had a long heart-to-heart talk with your child who is about to enter a secular college, it could be their undoing. Every possible temptation is laid out before them like a buffet. Most institutions of higher learning are liberal and secular; consequently, they have become ultra-permissive bastions of the MTV lifestyle.

Drinking is just one of the issues with which your student will be confronted. They will also be encouraged to engage in sexual hookups, and with that activity the risk of a myriad of sexually-transmitted diseases. So what are the latest games being played on campuses?

Excerpt from TIME: The War Against Beer Pong

"Beer Pong is a virtual rendition of the popular college drinking game that requires players to toss Ping-Pong balls across a table and into a cup of beer (if your cup is hit, you drink). The game was designed for the popular Nintendo Wii platform, and its maker had planned to release it as the first game in its new Frat Party Games series. But concerned parents began sending angry letters to JV Games and Nintendo — Connecticut attorney general Richard Blumenthal even got in on the action, sending his own missives to the companies — until JV Games agreed to change the title of the game to Pong Toss and fill its pixelated cups with water.

"'We never anticipated such a severe reaction to the word beer,' says Jag Jaegar, co-owner of JV Games, which released Pong Toss on July 28 with a kid-friendly rating of T for teen.

"The controversy isn't entirely surprising. The point of beer pong is to get your friends drunk — and parents and university administrators generally frown on that sort of thing. Last fall, Georgetown University banned beer pong, specially made beer-pong tables and inordinate numbers of Ping-Pong balls and any other alcohol-related paraphernalia in its on-campus dorms — even in the rooms of students of legal drinking age. The University of Pennsylvania, Yale University, the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and Tufts University have also banned drinking games. 'We're pleased that Tufts has put this in writing,' says Michelle Bowdler, a health administrator at the school. 'Although we understand that twenty one is the legal drinking age, we don't want our students participating in activities that could do excessive harm to themselves or others."Full Article

Common to the verbiage of campus life these days is a term called "pregaming." Pregaming — risky behavior that involves dorm room or off-campus apartment drinking — is practiced by underage students who cannot legally buy or consume alcohol. Their asinine goal is to drink as much booze as possible before going out to "Party Hardy."

Binge drinking — excess for its own sake — is encouraged by other students. As a result, hospitalization of their peers for acute alcohol poisoning is becoming practically epidemic. It is not unusual for some students to down as many as twenty-two shots of vodka while in a dorm room waiting with their friends to start a weekend of partying. Poisoning resulting from the intake of such massive quantities of alcohol in a short span of time has become widespread on campuses across the nation. Approximately three hundred students die each year.

A few college officials have advocated declaring their campuses dry and shutting down fraternity houses. Others believe that enforcement of the minimum drinking age of twenty-one is the solution. While these would indeed be helpful awareness and more education is the answer to this deadly dilemma.

The alcohol industry perpetuates the myth that the Europeans have the correct approach pertaining to alcoholic-related problems amongst their youth and citizenry. Europe has the same percentage of alcoholism as we have in America. If parents do not drink, it is more likely that neither will their children. Alcohol is a potentially addictive substance that also causes many health problems.

Data from recent surveys shows no evidence that young Europeans drink more responsibly than their counterparts in the U.S. Of 35 European countries, only Turkey reported less alcohol abuse among youth than the U.S.

In 1988, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) successfully lobbied Congress to make it mandatory for all states to mandate a drinking age of twenty-one or risk losing Federal highway funds. All 50 states complied, thus saving many lives. As it stands, three in every ten Americans will be involved in an alcohol-related crash in their lifetimes.

Since alcohol use is thoroughly ingrained in so many cultures, many spiritually-grounded people do not understand the benefits of total abstinence from alcoholic beverages. Potential alcoholism and the grave misadventures connected with overindulgence are not the only pitfalls associated with alcohol overuse. Alcohol as a chemical is harmful to every organ in the human body in addition to having the tendency to compromise inhibitions and judgment.

Teach your children well by example and save them from emotional distress or worse, death. Keeping yourself healthy and fit is biblical. "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own." (1 Corinthians 6:19)

So what are the latest games being played on campuses? Be aware that college has trappings that include all the rituals of campus life. If you have not had a long heart-to-heart talk with your child who is about to enter a secular college, it could be their undoing. Every possible temptation is laid out before them like a buffet. Most institutions of higher learning are liberal and secular; consequently, they have become ultra-permissive bastions of the MTV lifestyle.


Marie Jon' is a political/religious-based writer and founder of http://www.drawingclose.org/ — a sister website to RenewAmerica. Marie extends her hand of welcome; visit DrawingClose and receive your free gift of salvation by taking an online Bible study. Join Christians from all over the world by becoming a free member of GO Fellowship. The website is a nondenominational gathering of believers.

Marie's writings have appeared on many sites, including The New Media Journal, ChronWatch, and ABCNews, to name a few. She is a regular columnist for CapitolHillCoffeeHouse, The Daley Times Post, RenewAmerica, The Conservative Voice, Newsbull, GreatAmericanJournal.com, Radiofreewesthartford.com, Conservativecrusader.com, RightSideNews.com and WesternFrontAmerica.com.

Marie brings a refreshing and spirited point of view that is reflected in her writings, as well as genuine and spiritual insights regarding God and his teachings as they pertain to our modern society. Marie is a nurse, a lay student of the Bible, and a patriot. She is an advocate for American troops serving abroad, as well as the Blue and Gold Star Mothers of America and their families. Marie has appeared as a guest with political talk show host Bruce Elliott on WBAL-1090 AM (Saturdays 5AM-9AM EST).

© Copyright 2008 by Marie Jon'


Braden said...

While I do admit that alcoholism is a problem, Marie Jon's description of beer pong is laughable, at best.

1. If your cup is hit, you do nothing. Only if the ball makes it in the cup do you drink it.

2. The point of beer pong is not to get your friends drunk. In fact, during the game you need to try and stay as sober as you can, because getting drunk is obviously a severe hinderance for your throwing ability.

3. The average amount of beer poured in the 6 cups during a game is 2 beers. The cups are purposely not filled very high, because you can blow the ball out if it hasn't fell into the beer yet. I hate to tell Time.com, but 2 beers is not binge drinking.

I constantly hear stories from my parents generation about how they would sneak of to go get drunk, or about their college stories. Was it a problem? Yes. Did their parents and the cops try to stop it? Yes. Did it have a name, was labeled an epidemic, and resulted in the banning of games on college campuses? No, get real. It's hypocrisy is what it is.

Pat Powers said...

I've got to chime in with Braden on this one.

While I was a member of a fraternity in my college days, amazingly enough, I didn't need their facilitation to imbibe. If anything, it helped provide a focus for things other than that, such as community service and organizational leadership skills.

Apparently this columnist is a bit of a dope who has watched "Animal House" too many times, and accepts it as truth.

USD Student said...

I'm really glad to see after the comments on this story that not all people of the older generation are as daft as Ms. Jon.

Drinking is a choice. It always has been. Parents restricting their students by telling them not to join fraternaties and sororities (which are usually worthwhile organizations that help students to thrive in all new ways) and to lock themselves up in their dorm rooms is not the way to go. You just have to hope that you have taught your children well enough throughout their lives that they can make good decisions when the time comes.

Restricting of underage drinking just tends to make things worse. She talks about pregaming for underage kids. This is only an issue because the drinking age is restricted by the state. If she thinks beerpong is a dangerous drinking game, wait till she sees what the students at Georgetown and those other universities start to play now. People will always find a way to drink when it is restricted and it usually will be more dangerous than when it was legal (ever hear of the prohibition era?).

Also, I would really like to see where Ms. Jon gets her statistics, because this is the first time I have EVER heard of Europe not having lower alcoholism rates.

Brandon said...

I love your blog and am a regular reader, but I also have to disagree with you on this point. I am a member of a fraternity at South Dakota State University, and I can honestly say that I see a lot more irresponsible drinking outside the fraternal sphere. People of college age are able to drink for the first time (some of age, some not), and that point has to come at some time, regardless of what age that is. College students are learning how it works, and they have been thrust into an situation where they are on their truly on their own for the first time and can also drink for the first time. Students are learning their limits on their own, and as with any learning experience they can go too far sometimes. I must also make some corrections to the article. The term "pregaming" refers to drinking prior to going out to a party (often in a dorm room) to be a little buzzed and extra-talkative when one arrives at an event. Most college students drink, whether it be in dorms, apartments, houses, or fraternal/sorority places. Bad decisions are made in all these locations, it's just a matter of what the students are doing outside of their festivities. How is a college student who drinks irresponsibly in a dorm any better than one at a fraternity? A dorm student parties all weekend and then plays video games all the time. A fraternity may have people there who are drinking (fraternities do not revolve around the party scene), but they do stuff as an organization for the community and the school outside of any parties that were going on, so I'd say an involved student who attends parties sometimes is a little better than a student who parties and then sits on his/her futon and plays video games.
And like Braden said, use this little formula:
10 cups=2.5 beers=35 minute game minimum (it's tough to get it in that last cup with a ping pong ball 10 feet away)=10 cups split between 2 people in that time and 2.5 beers

This can hardly be called irresponsible binge drinking. Granted, they could be drinking something else during the whole game, but that's their choice and they'll learn from the consequences.

That being said, I love your blog and keep up the good work!

Marie Jon said...

MADD Website: http://www.madd.org/

Facts About Alcohol Poisoning

Drinking Rates and Problems: A Comparison of European Countries and the United States [PDF]

Nation Institute on Alcohol Abuse and College Drinking Prevention Task Force


Marie Jon.... A survivor of a death of a twin brother, by the hands of a drunk diver. Above are the startistics.

Bob Ellis said...

First, I haven't seen the stats on alcohol abuse in Europe, but I know that in my three years there, I knew pleeeeeeeeeenty of Europeans (British, French, German, Italian, etc.) who regularly drank to excess. My British girlfriend started on beer shandies when she was about five or six, and by her early 20s could kill the better part of a fifth of vodka in one night by herself, and drink me under the table, despite weighing less than I did when I was in my prime and running 6 miles a day.

Second, the description of Beer Pong wasn't Marie's it was from Time Magazine.

Third, I've been to plenty of drinking parties and played plenty of drinking games. I used to be a lush, so I have some expertise in this area--and I was far from alone in these excesses when I was young. It's laughable to assert that the point of beer pong isn't to get your friends drunk. The Time magazine article states as much, and any participant or observer of such games knows as much.

I also find it laughable to assert that only two beers are consumed. According to what I've read, about 6-10 cups, with 16 oz being the standard size cup, are set up for each team (that takes more than 2 beers). The game ends when the cups are all emptied on one team's side--and the losing team must also consume any remaining cups left on the winner's side.

And how many ROUNDS of the game are played in an evening?

No binge drinking? Go pull my other leg now.

College should be a place to learn, not develop a drinking problem, or end up dead.

I'm sure not every college student abuses alcohol, and every frat isn't an Animal House, but that alcohol abuse tends to be drastically downplayed, perhaps because of its wide social acceptance. Even if the number of abusers is relatively small, it should be strongly discouraged by authorities and peers. When I think back to the things I used to do, and the danger to which I exposed myself recklessly, I shudder. And I pray to God my children are never so foolish as to give into a temptation like that; they might not escape the consequences as fortunately as I did.

Regardless of our disagreement on this issue, Braden, thanks for your kind comments about the blog, and thanks for being a regular reader.

Brandon said...

True, they are 16 oz cups...but everyone only fills them maybe 1/2 inch to 3/4 inches full...so it takes around 2 to 2.5 bottles...and you are very correct in asking how many games, because that is definitely the issue...I wasn't taking away from the binge drinking issue, but tacking the cause of the problem to the game of beer pong or fraternities is what I was arguing against.

Anonymous said...

Being part of the university scene most of my adult life I have seen a shift in student drinking over the past 40 years. Once drinking was restricted to weekends, except for the really messed-up kids who were destined to flunk-out anyway, and drinking was almost exclusively limited to beer and wine (Boone's Farm for the girls that didn't like beer). Today many, but not all, students imbibe several days per week. On my campus, besides weekends most students observe "thirsty Thursday," as well. Amazingly, there are some of the schools on campus that have all but eliminated Friday classes in deferment to this practice, so weekends, in effect, begin on Thursday evening! Although beer remains the most popular beverage on campus, rum and vodka are common accompaniments, found at most parties in "handles" (half-gallon jugs). For many students drinking is not for the purpose of lubricating social functions but for the purpose of getting completely hammered.

There is a large Greek population on our campus and what Branden says is true with many groups, but in some partying and excessive drinking are almost daily activities. Everybody on campus knows which are the party houses.

Anonymous said...

I too must agree with Brandon on the issue of drinking, especially on putting fraternities and sororities in such a bad light. Yes, college students drink, even non-college students drink. certainly locking yourself up in your dorm room is not the answer to the problem. Lowering the drinking age is also not an acceptable answer either. That being said, having been both a member of a fraternity in college, and a regular at the off campus events, I would like to express some trends that I noticed while in college. While attending college in Ohio, my college was an dry campus. No exceptions. If you came back to campus intoxicated, or even after having a drink or two, you were put in front of the judicial board. Another college, Baldwin Wallace in Berea Ohio, also a dry campus, had a slightly more responsible policy in place. Having attended both campuses, and having been involved in Greek Life again, at both campuses, there was a noticable difference between the drinking at my college, and the drinking at Baldwin Wallace College. The student were more adult about the consumption, and more students drank more responsibly at Baldwin Wallace. Perhaps the issue is not to hide alcohol, and demand that our children avoid it at all cost, but since some of them are going to try it, then perhaps we should follow in the steps of Baldwin Wallace and encourage responsible drinking. Oh, and kids, Go Greek. You are the first ones that I pick for the jobs at our school.

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