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Liquor craze sends more students to hospital

The number of students at Castleton drinking alcohol isn’t necessarily on the rise, but some officials say the number of those risking their lives is. Castleton students have maintained the typical college drinking habits, but the new popular poison they choose, hard liquor, is landing them in the hospital, said Bob Godlewski, director of Public Safety.

And Godlewski is concerned.

His anxiety stems from the number of students being transported to the hospital with alcohol poisoning.

“In hospital transports, that number has more than doubled,” he said, adding that he didn’t have exact numbers.

But why?

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen students drinking top shelf liquor, so for the most part I think it’s an attempt to get more for their dollar,” said Dennis Proulx, dean of students. “I don’t know what the answer is.”

Proulx believes the liquor craze may have something to do with accessibility and transport. A handle of hooch doesn’t make it look like your wearing a square backpack full of glass.

“I think it’s also what’s popular,” he said.

Both Proulx and Godlewski believe its possible the attraction isn’t quality, it’s quantity.

“It’s probably cheaper for them all to throw in $2 and get a bottle of gut rot,” said Godlewski.

Most students learned, after years of education that a shot of liquor contains the same amount of alcohol as a glass of wine or a beer. But if students’ consuming habits don’t change from beer to liquor, there can be problems, Proulx said.

“There is a lot less to drink in a shot than a beer or glass of wine” said Proulx. “It’s easier and quicker for someone to take a shot than drink a whole beer.”

s all about experience and knowing what your body can handle.

“I feel like some of these under-classmen are coming in with no experience so they’re coming in and thinking they can keep up with others,” said senior Eric Hall. “Not that they should have a lot of experience in high school, but I think there’s also a lot of peer pressure.

“Kids are easily influenced. If someone says ‘do a few shots,’ kids will do it just because,” said Hall.

Jeff Geigler, a senior, believes that drinking and drinking excessively in particularly is all about popularity.

“Kids think it’s the cool thing to do, he said.”

Although Geigler said he hasn’t seen a huge increase in drinking in the past four years, he sees and hears about bad decisions.

“I think they just need to be smarter” he said.

But other school officials said Castleton’s drinking needs to be put into perspective. New Director of Residence Life, Mike Robilotto, has seen much worse. Coming from jobs in resident life and student activities at Cazenovia College, Morrisville State College, and Eckerd College, he said he believes Castleton students aren’t quite as thirsty in comparison.

“Castleton doesn’t have as many cases as I’ve dealt with at other schools,” said Rolilotto.

Agreeing with Godlewski and Proulx, Rolilotto blames the liquor craze on the search for a “quick fix.”

“Students have also said that it’s cheaper to buy a bottle between people than to buy a case of beer,” he said.

That may be true, but some students say it’s more a demand for instantaneous influence.

“It gets the job done quicker,” said senior Geoffrey “Heavy C” Walker. “People like to get wild.”

But Walker said he agrees with Hall’s belief that incoming students are more prone to being at risk.

“Kids come from high school where their mom and dad watch them and then they come to college and think they can go crazy,” he said. “Mommy and daddy ain’t here to look after em’.”

Whatever the reasoning, Godlewski said it’s a serious matter that needs to be addressed further.

“We have to be more pro-active in discussing alcohol,” said Godlewski. “The biggest problem on campus is drinking to the extreme — to the point that they’re being transported to the hospital.”

Proulx agrees.

“I’d like to begin to start a discussion throughout the campus about why it’s occurring,” Proulx said.

Godlewski said he just wants to make sure kids are safe and don’t get into something they can’t get out of in the future.

“I don’t know if students realize what a problem it is, but if they continue on that path it will cost them marriages, jobs, and even their lives,” he said.