The Boston Globe
April 09, 2006 Sunday
COLLEGES CRACK DOWN ON PREPARTY DRINKING
BY MARCELLA BOMBARDIERI, GLOBE STAFF
EDUCATION; Pg. A1
WALTHAM The barriers between students under the legal drinking age and the kegs at Brandeis
University's Modfest bash last fall were formidable. Adult staff checked IDs against an official
list of students 21 and older before handing out bracelets to identify legal drinkers. Professional
caterers rather than students served the beer.
And yet, at the outdoor
last fall, one young woman became violently ill, another was too
drunk to stand, and friends of a third had to drag her to medical help, according to a student
emergency medical technician. Ambulances took three students to the hospital.
This spring, Brandeis is not trying to prevent underage drinking at Modfest. It is banning the
event, because some underage students became dangerously intoxicated from the alcohol they
consumed last time, not at the
Many other schools are also taking new steps to combat binge drinking and especially
"pregaming" the preparty drinking bouts that some underage students engage in when they know
they won't be served alcohol at of ficial events. To pregame, students and administrators say, is to
consume as much alcohol as possible as quickly as possible before heading out. The goal is to
create a buzz that will last though a long night. That type of drinking tends to be particularly
dangerous for freshmen, who are less likely to know their limits.
including Modfest, organizers turn away the most visibly intoxicated students at
the door, but most get through. At other
the ticket takers may not care.
"Pregaming is almost a necessity," said a 19-year-old Brandeis freshman, who asked not to be
named. "You don't go out without being drunk, or you'll have a terrible time. That's what people
say, and you end up believing it."
College administrators say they are struggling to identify solutions that will work, and students
contend that the more colleges crack down, the more they are going to drive the drinking