The Observer is a Student-run, daily print & online newspaper serving Notre Dame & Saint Mary's. Learn more about us.



Drinking debate continues

Megan Rybarczyk | Thursday, October 4, 2007

Someone quips at a hall council meeting, “We can’t do that activity on Saturday morning because people we be hung-over. I’m sorry, but it’s just a fact.” A student is taken to the hospital with a blood-alcohol content two or three times the legal limit and leaves the next morning as if nothing happened. The data presented in the article “ND Drinking Habits under Scrutiny” (Sept. 7) and subsequent articles in The Observer should have made students more aware of the seriousness of the current situation concerning the use, and often abuse, of alcohol. Unfortunately, according to these observations, nothing has changed. Nothing will change, however, unless the abuse of alcohol ceases to be an acceptable form of socialization among students.

DeMarzo-Sanchez’s Letter to the Editor (“Reasonable regulation is the key,” Sept. 25 ) demonstrated the extent to which this common mentality of the normalcy of the consumption of alcohol by minors is ingrained within college society, and it even went as far as stating that the behavior is “inevitable.” This implies that abusing alcohol (I would characterize using alcohol as a minor as a form of abuse) is not a choice, thereby removing any and all responsibility from the individual under the “involuntary grip” of this “normal” social activity.

Obviously, the gross error of these ideas demands a complete change in the mentality associated with this issue. Across the nation, one program that many institutions have been implementing in an effort to change the way students view the use of alcohol is “AlcoholEdu.” One million college students have already participated in this online alcohol prevention program that strives to educate beyond impersonal statistics.

Although this is one example of an excellent program, very little that is done through external programs or organizations in the effort to change the current “acceptability” of alcohol abuse will result in a complete change in the mentality. Ultimately, the responsibility through the implementation of one’s maturity lies within each and every student no matter what age. I agree with the view that it seems absurd for individuals to be able to smoke, vote, and be involved in the military but not to be able to drink. However, it is upsetting that while the ages set for activities, such as voting, assume that most individuals involved have adequate maturity, students of college age across the country have repeatedly shown that they lack the intellectual capabilities for consuming alcohol responsibly at that same time. Again, this demonstrates that it is one’s mentality toward a specific activity that is important.

As I stated before, as a result of the present situation, a change in the current mentality associated with alcohol is essential. All it takes are a few voices to have the courage and the maturity to speak out against the status quo. To change the behavior, we must change the mentality. After all, we had so many speak out against the South Bend ordinance that threatened the “well-being” of our individual freedoms, so why do we not speak out about our physical, emotional, and social well-being being that is being threatened by alcohol abuse?

Megan Rybarczyk


Lyons Hall

Oct. 4