What Do Oktoberfest, Homecoming & Halloween All Have in Common?

guy doing a keg stand

This may look fun, but don’t get carried away.

It’s almost the weekend, and students are trading in their books for beer. October is filled with festivities such as Oktoberfest, Homecoming, and Halloween. One common–but dangerous– theme among these events is binge drinking.

Binge drinking is commonly misunderstood and suffers a blurred definition. The CDC defines binge drinking as a pattern of drinking that brings an individual’s blood alcohol content to a level of 0.08 grams percent or above. For women this means consuming 4 or more drinks and 5 or more drinks for men in about two hours.

Winona State University is a college campus and inevitably there will be drinking even if it isn’t on university grounds. The issue is there is pressure to drink copious amounts of alcohol just to enjoy the celebration going on around you.

With Homecoming coming up in just a few short weekends, celebrating is on our minds. Students are buying shirts with mantras of “Hakuna Some Vodka” (i.e. “Get Wasted”) and “Wasted Warrior, Let’s Get Drunk” in preparation of all the ‘raging’ to come.

Now, I know it’s hard—trust me I’ve been there—to say no to your friends who want to have another shot or another round of beers, but they don’t know what’s best for you and your body. Also, when it comes down to it no one is responsible for you but you.

So how do you say no?

Well, you could:

  • Just say no– This is one of the simplest ways to say no, but isn’t always the best strategy to shake persistent pressure
  • Be the Designated Driver– By committing to drive at the end of the night, people are less likely to pressure you to drink
  • Carry a Decoy– You don’t have to actually drink it, but carry a drink full of soda, juice, or non-alcoholic sparkling cider. (From personal experience, this one works every time.)
  • Tell a Friend– It’s not bad to have someone on your side. If you’re at the bar tell the bartender you won’t be drinking and to make your drinks without the alcohol.
  • Keep Busy– Get in a good conversation, take photos of you and your friends, or dance. By keeping busy this gives you something to do besides drink.

You may be saying, well what’s wrong with a couple of drinks? And the answer is, nothing. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with drinking, in fact on occasion I have a drink myself, but drinking should be done in moderation.

All I’m saying is that you don’t have to give into peer pressure and have another drink or any drinks at all. Today’s college culture often revolves around parties and drinking, this is especially true for holidays and special occasions like Homecoming.

Just remember alcohol abuse can result in loss of memory, sickness, illegal activities, STDs, hookups, and all sorts of things. You don’t have to drink to have a good time, and you definitely don’t need to binge drink just to celebrate. Have a safe and Happy Homecoming!

–Cassie Tokach

students cheer at a football game

Look, you can enjoy a football game without alcohol in hand.

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