OPINION: A pledge, and a challenge, on binge drinking

Most of the Editorial Board was in New York during the Town Hall discussion regarding alcohol, parties and safety. Specifically, the Town Hall focused on peer pressure to drink and how some feel the need to drink to enjoy their Saturday night.

Multiple students described the hour-long conversation as intimate and emotional — an accomplishment by any standard. But how successful was it in terms of impact? Of actually changing students’ decision-making to ensure safety, self-awareness, and responsibility when going out?

That is not to fault the assembly. Assemblies fade after a period of time. Party-related lectures, conversations and info-sessions have been a feature of Shalhevet’s moral education for many years and have yet to put a serious dent in the issues they bring up.

But at the Boiling Point, we would like to try.

We believe the most urgent party habit to stem is binge drinking, defined as taking more than four to five shots (four for a girl, five for a boy) within a two-hour time span. Binge drinking is unhealthy, leads to reckless decisions including driving under the influence, and is in most instances the reason for anything bad that happens at parties.

Yet binge drinking has morphed into an integral piece of teen culture. Too many teens associate Saturday night with vodka shots and beer pong.

What hopefully can mitigate this party culture, and specifically binge drinking, is persistent attention to the problem. Starting with this edition, the Boiling Point plans to take a firm stand against binge drinking. That means we will be running a series of stories from now until the end of next year trying to tackle this issue, while also presenting students alternative ways to enjoy their Saturday nights. The first appears here.

This year’s and next year’s BP leadership are committed to this project. Our plan is to make our coverage comprehensive and persistent, and to explore the problem from multiple angles.

Journalism has a unique capacity for advocacy, and especially in a high school setting where we are true peers. That’s our motive here.

In addition, we are going to take personal action ourselves. Each member of the Editorial Board publicly pledges not to binge drink, and challenges other students to join in this pledge and take it seriously.

We realize this goal is ambitious, but we’re not that worried. If a culture so deep, dangerous and demoralizing could be altered, Shalhevet would be the school to alter it.