As college students, we aren’t strangers to binge-drinking and “blackout culture.” The adoption of the 2015 Social Host Law by the Village of Geneseo and the subsequent student backlash shows how defensive students are about preserving their drinking and partying habits. In a small town like Geneseo, drinking to blackout is a popular pastime when—especially during colder months—there isn’t much else to do instead. The New York Times recently published an editorial for their On Campus column written by a college student frustrated with the drinking culture she witnessed during the start of her college career. Ashton Katherine Carrick describes party situations that are probably familiar to Geneseo students—waking up sick and unaware of what happened the night before, or taking pictures of friends passed out in the bathroom.
Carrick argues that blackout culture thrives at schools “in small towns … [with] a general lack of bars and off-campus gathering places” which allows fraternity, sorority and sports team parties to become the focal points of social nightlife.
It isn’t just a coincidence that Carrick describes Geneseo perfectly. The past closings of the In-Between, the Vital Spot and Kelly’s Saloon are believed to have influenced the severity of off-campus partying and binge-drinking in our community.
In an interview for a Dec. 10, 2015 article in The Lamron, Village of Geneseo Police Chief Eric Osganian said, “ … we’re seeing more parties than we had years ago … what we are seeing is a spike in the party as opposed to going to the bars.”
While the binge-drinking habits of Geneseo students are unlikely to drastically change in any near future, seeing the problems and dangerous situations outlined in Carrick’s article gives a reality check to those of us who consider those habits routine. By reading an outsider’s view of drinking culture, we can acknowledge how toxic and unhealthy it really is.
Many of us at The Lamron are of legal drinking age, so drinking is even more difficult to avoid in our social lives. But the only way we can fix our disturbing behavior is by changing our personal habits. We can slow down our consumption, give our bodies a rest and take responsibility for our actions. Or even in the future—when recreational marijuana is inevitably legalized in New York State—we can switch our binging habits to a less dangerous substance.