Freshman Corner: Alcohol policy falls on deaf ears

It has been said that by repeating something, you are bound to remember it. But at what point does this repetition become redundant, and then just a complete turn-off? Well, this is a perfect example of what happened to me at freshman orientation, particularly regarding the alcohol policy.

During orientation, freshmen are led around campus to learn more about life here at Rider. But many students, myself included, felt as though the alcohol policy was shoved down our throats every second of the weekend.

I understand that this is the university’s responsibility, especially since Gary DeVercelly Jr.’s alcohol-related death back in March 2007. The 18-year-old freshman from Long Beach, Calif., died after allegedly ingesting close to a whole bottle of vodka at a Phi Kappa Tau fraternity Big/Little Night. The university did try some new and creative ways to educate new students on the dangers of binge drinking. They had speakers and videos, followed by more speakers and a “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire”-style survey system seemingly intended to preach to the masses. Throughout orientation, the fear of what would happen if we were caught drinking underage was embedded into our brains.

The part of this ordeal that harmed underclassmen the most was that we had no time to receive information about other important things, like clubs and classes, or to get answers to the countless extra questions that can run around a frightened freshman’s head.

Let’s not forget the mandatory two-and-a-half-hour-long online class that dealt with everyone’s favorite topic, alcohol abuse, before we could even move in.

But have all of these attempts fallen on deaf ears? During my first night at Rider, I saw two or three ambulances drive through campus, and a grotesque puddle of vomit on the road. These incidents went hand-in-hand with all of the rumors of parties.

Basically, a large sum of money, resources and time were spent beating freshmen’s ears to a pulp about the dangers of alcohol. Despite this, many students did not listen or heed the online course that explained how to drink safely.

So let’s do the math here. I lost a huge chunk of my orientation, a day that is supposed to teach me about my new life at Rider, listening to the same thing over and over again. And all these attempts did practically nothing to stop binge drinking. Not to mention, the university spent money on the speakers coming to the school. So when the smoke cleared, did this truly pay off?

– Tommy Gentile

Freshman TV/Radio and journalism major

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