I’m new to Georgetown University. I’m the vice president for student affairs, which means I’m in charge of the university’s efforts to support students and enrich their learning experiences here. I’m not entirely sure that admitting I’m a “Trekkie” — a die-hard Star Trek fan — is the best way to go about making first impressions. But, here we go.
In case you don’t know much about Star Trek, all you have to understand for now is that the characters known as Borgs are frequent villains— but not all bad. I mean, Jean-Luc Picard, the main character and heroic captain of the USS Enterprise, was a Borg. Check out Season 4, Episode 26. It was a thing.
The BORGs that I’ve encountered at Georgetown, however, are not exactly from Trekkie lore. These BORGs — so-called “blackout rage gallons” — are also mostly villains. They are concocted beverages that seemingly disguise the unhealthy consumption of large amounts of alcohol by adding some electrolytes and water.
On the Hilltop, you’ll generally see the remnants of BORGs the next day: crushed one-gallon containers on sidewalks and on-campus walkways, as well as in front of neighborhood schools and homes.
Consumption of these huge amounts of alcohol often results in late-night Georgetown Emergency Response Medical Service trips to the emergency room as students try to get their friends help.
I’m grateful for the medical amnesty policy at Georgetown. No one gets in trouble for getting their friend help. But BORGs do worry me, and I wonder why this drinking novelty is needed at Georgetown.
I look at our community traditions in the next month — Georgetown Day, Senior Week and Commencement — and wonder why the propensity to celebrate Georgetown is with heavy drinking. There must be other ways students can safely celebrate one another and take a break before the pressures of finals.
While I’m new to Georgetown, I’ve already seen our students foster an atmosphere of community and care on the Hilltop. Georgetown students hold themselves and others to high standards.
Surveys also tell us that Georgetown students drink moderately. Some Georgetown students don’t drink at all. Most students pace themselves and limit their alcohol consumption to less than one drink per hour, know their limits and plan for safe travels home after their revelry.
The vast majority of our students say they actively look out for others and request help when they see friends engaging in harmful behavior. Hoyas are known for prioritizing each other’s safety, whether it’s through bystander intervention behavior or researching resources for a friend in need.
Georgetown Day doesn’t have to be an exception to these high standards. Taking precautions, like eating while drinking, can help to avoid the impact of consuming too much alcohol. If your drink comes from a jug with lots of alcohol, it is difficult to know how much you’ve really consumed and when you have passed your limit. Alternating drinks of water in between alcoholic beverages, instead of mixing it all together, can help you pace yourself as well.
Georgetown Day is the celebration of every Hoya in the community, as well as their year of accomplishments. Instead of “raging” and “blacking out,” I hope you will remember what makes a Hoya. Hoyas are grounded in Cura Personalis, and committed to the well-being and thriving of themselves and their peers.
However you celebrate Georgetown Day, I hope you will be safe, loved and not alone. I hope you will see our community for all that it offers you. I hope you know how much we, the administration, believe in you, believe in all that you are and believe in the future you will shape.
Have fun. Make great memories. Keep yourselves and your friends safe!
Eleanor J.B. Daugherty is the vice president for student affairs.