The Party Bus: saving students from themselves

by Emily Huntington

When I was younger,  probably about 17,  I went to a house party hosted by one of my friends. This party included a bunch of people who were my age or even younger, and less than a handful of people who were legally allowed to drink. I obviously wasn’t one of those people. It was the first night I’ve ever experienced, even to this day, where I blacked out for an unknown amount of time. I woke up to a stranger making me drink water.

Thankfully, it was someone who was trying to save me, not take advantage of me.  That incident didn’t stop me from continuing to drink. When I used to go to these parties, I didn’t really have someone I could depend on to watch out for me. I called the people my friends, but they were just as bad as I was once the alcohol hit their system.

Now I’m 22, and I have access to alcohol whenever I want it, so the underage drinking isn’t an issue with me. However, I still have to monitor my intake, because my father was an alcoholic. I know I have that gene, too.

The recent drama with the “party bus” at that cited 209 students in the Western Washington University area for underage drinking got me thinking: what if this was around when I was a minor?

I was in HIGH SCHOOL when I was at my worst. This is a university citing people – should high schools start too? Kids in fourth grade have cell phones now; before we know it, middle schoolers will be drinking excessively. My parents never found out about it (unless I told them – which I usually did later because I have a guilty conscience) because I was pretty good about hiding it –and the fact that I never got hangovers was helpful.

Or problematic, I’m not sure which. The fact is, parents just don’t know. And since we live away from home now, it’s even easier to hide it.

Students at Western questioned why, with budget cuts, the college would help fund something like this. The answer is simple: it’s to keep us safe. It’s to let our parents know that even while we’re away from home, there are people looking out for us…because when we’re under the influence, we can’t count on our “friends” to do that.


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