Alcohol and responsible citizenship: Can they mix?

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    The TCU mission statement calls all students to be responsible citizens, but what does that really mean?

    The phrasing seems vague, but the practice of responsible citizenship can sometimes be lost in the ambiguity.

    This past weekend, a tragedy just one mile away from our campus showed the impact our choices can have on our community.

    TCU student was arrested on suspicion of intoxication manslaughter by the Fort Worth police after a car crash that killed a 46-year-old woman.

    We live in an age where the consequences of drunk driving are well documented and publicized, but many students across the country continue to ignore the dangers of their actions.

    2010 study conducted by the University of Maryland’s School of Public Health found that one in five college students admitted to driving while drunk and 40 percent admitted to riding with a drunk driver.

    More than 19 million students were enrolled in college in 2010, so that’s almost 4 million drunk college students behind the wheel.

    2009 report from the Boston University of Public Health echoed this assessment, estimating that 3,360,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 drive under the influence of alcohol.

    It’s not just about drunk driving, either.

    The Boston study found that 97,000 students are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape, and 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, including motor vehicle crashes.

    This is why initiatives like Not On My Campus are so important at TCU, and why the TCU Interfraternity Council is currently implementing bystander intervention training to teach new fraternity members about the responsibility of their actions.

    College students represent our society’s future, but alcohol-related choices can put that future in jeopardy.

    We need to remember that we are challenged to serve as responsible citizens, and when it comes to alcohol, it’s our responsibility to reduce alcohol-related harm in our global community.

    Managing Editor Evan Watson for the editorial board.