At the beginning of October the campus-approved “Stall Street Journal” public service announcements, posted in campus restrooms, featured the topic of binge drinking. The flyer included a White Claw hard seltzer can with the clever catch phrase “there are laws when drinking claws.”
The longer I looked at the flyer, the more I realized it was not a helpful PSA, but a manipulation of statistics. These flyers are promoting misinformation and unnecessary fear in partaking in a completely normal activity, instead of educating students on ways to drink responsibly.
The data they chose creates a false narrative about the real effects and risks of drinking. The flyers include statistics such as “88,000 people die each year due to excessive drinking,” but they do not define “excessive drinking.”
Therefore, a student could see this flyer and think that just a few drinks can lead to addiction or even death.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, binge drinking is a regular pattern of consuming five or more drinks in a two hour period and “most people who binge drink are not alcohol dependent.”
On the flyer, under “health risks,” sexually transmitted infections and unintended pregnancies are listed.
Unintended pregnancies may also be a risk, but much less often than the flyer makes it out to be.
According to the John Hopkins Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth, “underage undergraduates were 23% less likely to use a condom during sexual intercourse when they are drunk.”
However, that number is not equal to the amount who get pregnant. It also does not take into account use of other forms of birth control, such as intrauterine devices or birth control pills.
“I wish there was a part on safety, instead of just relaying all these awful risks,” junior Nyle De Leon said.
The flyer also warns that binge drinking can cause people to partake in “risky sexual behavior.” It never specifies what exactly is considered “risky sexual behavior,” just that it happens.
I think it would have been much more effective to instead suggest that sexually active students carry a condom with them before going out. This is more realistic and helpful for students.
“It feels so definite, like if you drink you’ll have sex and die,” De Leon said.
While Cal Lutheran is a dry campus, we are more than aware that a large amount of college students partake in drinking.
Since they can’t really stop students from drinking, I think it would be much more effective to inform students of safe ways to drink.
According to Very Well Mind, it is important to make sure you have a plan to get home or a safe place to sleep, drink with people you trust, pour your own drinks and stay hydrated.
Most importantly, if you see something, say something. Whether you see someone trying to drive home drunk or someone too intoxicated to consent, it’s important to watch out for each other while having fun.
In the future, I hope there will be a safe drinking PSA instead of another “White Claw Faux Pas.”