No more deaths. No more trips to the hospital in the early hours of the morning. No more blackouts and missing memories.
This weekend, we lost a member of our family.
Before any information was released, everyone immediately jumped to the conclusion that Austin Vonckx’s death in South Village had to do with alcohol.
Why was this our first assumption?
Because, in the short month of being back for fall, there have already been several incidents resulting in students with alcohol poisoning or ending the night with an alcohol-induced hospital visit.
Last year, we lost another student, Jesse Woodyard, when he was hit by a car while walking to his San Carlos home from a bar. He was presumed to be intoxicated.
Before that, Devin Lurain, a freshman, died in 2007 of alcohol poisoning in his North Lake dorm.
We’ve had countless instances of alcohol poisonings in between.
According to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die each year from alcohol-related unintentional injuries. Let’s not be a statistic.
As many as 599,000 students a year between the ages of 18 and 24 receive unintentional injuries while under the influence of alcohol. Let’s not be a statistic.
I’m sure we’ve all experienced a situation with a friend who has suffered from one of these situations.
Enough is enough.
The answer to this problem doesn’t lie with housing. It’s not up to the University Police to track us all down. The RAs aren’t responsible for knocking on each and every door to make sure every resident is sober.
It’s time for us to step up.
As students of Florida Gulf Coast University, or any school for that matter, we have a responsibility to ourselves and our peers.
OK, let’s face it, we’re in college.
For some of us, we’re young, budding adults just set loose onto the world. We’re free from authority breathing down our necks. We’re all on our own.
For others, it’s just fun to drink.
I’m not going to tell the entire student body not to drink, because please, that’s a ridiculous request.
However, there’s a thin, blurry line between fun and dangerous when it comes to alcohol.
Believe it or not, it’s actually possible to have fun without getting trashed. It’s not fun to spend all night in the toilet. It’s not fun to hang out in the hospital all night. It’s not fun to get stuck in your South Village trash chute. It’s not fun to need your friends to babysit you.
Ironically, we were just named No. 2 in the list of “Top 50 Schools That You Don’t Have to Party to Have Fun” by University Primetime this weekend.
Let’s try to keep that in mind. Remember that beach thing on campus?
As students and as a community, if someone is too intoxicated beyond the ability of taking care of themselves, we should look out for them. But as a person consuming alcohol, we are also taking on the responsibility for ourselves.
I urge you, FGCU, be smart. We all have our limits; don’t try to exceed them. Turn down that last shot with your fraternity brothers; let your pride take the hit, not your liver.
Whether or not Vonckx’s death was directly related to alcohol, this should open our eyes.
Maybe it’s peer pressure, maybe it’s the freedom, maybe it’s just our egos. Whatever it is, we need to end this dangerous trend of late-night hospital slumber parties.
Eagles don’t look good in hospital gowns.