Drinking and falling can be stopped if we work together

Nonprofit leadership and management freshman Naomi McClendon fell from a balcony at 922 Place early Sunday morning. McClendon died because of a problem that affects colleges around the nation. We, as students, don't take care of each other when we get into trouble.

In the past, we've reported on this problem of students dying after falling from great heights. In 2010, 2011 and 2012, we've reported on people falling from many stories in Barrett, the Honors College, The Domain and the Hooters located on Mill Avenue.

These incidents keep hitting the ASU community, and it never seems to stop. Institutions that lord over us when we're at ASU do not seem to respond to these tragic accidents that could be prevented by slight changes in the way college students are treated.



When looking at the types of apartments and houses that ASU students typically live in when they move off-campus, there are frighteningly few safety features to be found. When developers build these cinderblock "luxury" apartments, they fail to build in safety features that can accommodate the activities in which college students partake. Moreover, ASU seems to turn a blind eye on those who consume alcohol.

ASU's tips on when not to drink alcohol tell students, "Do not drink alcohol if you are stressed, ill, or tired, taking medications, pregnant, nursing, or considering pregnancy, driving, underage or in violation of the law, recovering, or related to someone with alcoholism."

ASU also states, to its credit, to "alternate alcoholic drinks with non-alcoholic drinks, particularly water." Perhaps the most important tip that ASU includes that, when a friend is in trouble, to "Call 911, turn the person on his or her side and stay with the person until help arrives." These tips, however, are all based on the premise that underage students do not drink alcohol. There's no mention of those who are allowed to drink, because they are old enough, either.

The rules, in sum, merely say how awful alcohol is and how to avoid it. ASU's dry campus enforcement also contributes to pushing students off campus and into more dangerous situations that happen there. Students, we must take this issue into our own hands.

If you're going to drink alcohol, watch each other's backs. Just keeping track of those who are drinking around you at a party can prevent bad things from happening to you or your friends. When people are left unattended and drunk, they cannot fend for themselves.

We should remember that these accidents do not pick and choose who to affect. For this reason, we must remember that this equalizer makes us all equally responsible. Be aware of your surroundings, be sure to use the buddy system and don't drink to black out.

These simple rules to follow can prevent tragedies that seem to affect our student body every year. As we learn skills to help us professionally, we're also learning the ropes of adult social groups. As alcohol is a part of adulthood, we must learn — and sometimes be taught — how to deal with it.

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