LETTER: ‘Drunk Texts from Aggieville’ glamorizes underage drinking and depression

Bottles like these can be a common sight when binge drinking is involved. (Photo illustration by John Chapple | Collegian Media Group)

This letter to the editor was written by Vanessa Fronce in response to the Drunk Texts from Aggieville advertisement run on Tuesday. If you would like to write a letter to the Collegian, send us an email at letters@kstatecollegian.com or visit kstatecollegian.com/contact.

On Jan. 22, 2019, an ad was printed in the Collegian requesting “funny drunk texts” from the student body.

Other community members and I have concerns this glamorizes underage drinking and binge drinking amongst not only the student body, but also the Manhattan community, which can negatively impact the reputation of our beloved campus and town.

College campuses are no stranger to alcohol abuse and binge drinking. Unfortunately, K-State is not immune to this problem. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, it is estimated over 80 percent of college students drink alcohol.

Nearly half of those students will admit to binge drinking within a two-week timespan. Considering the average age of college students, between 18 and 22, many are also guilty of underage drinking.

While alcohol abuse has many detrimental effects, such as poor academic performance, potential health problems and driving under the influence, recent studies show that alcohol consumption amongst college students has also been linked to an influx of unprotected sex and sexual assault.

In addition, it is important to be mindful that alcohol is a depressant. The American College Health Association’s 2009 National College Health Assessment found that 30 percent of college students felt “so depressed that it was difficult to function.”

Many college students drink to escape anxiety and feelings of depression, and students suffering from depression are more prone to alcohol abuse.

The ad in question showcased a few examples of texts that could be (or may have already been) submitted via Twitter to the handle @fromdrunk to be featured. Two of the examples read as follows: “where are my friends and why am I sad” and “If I was more drunk, I would be crying already.”

As an alumna of K-State who has fought my own mental health battles during my collegiate experience by using alcohol to self-regulate, I am sorely disappointed these messages are being purported as “funny.” Feelings of loneliness, anxiety or depression that others are experiencing should never be viewed in this manner.

Is this feature providing a meaningful voice to students, or rather, are we perpetuating a problem we should be actively working to diminish? I think we need to be conscientious that educating students on the harmful effects of underage or binge drinking may be a more respected and well received use of real estate within the Collegian’s pages.

Vanessa Fronce is a Kansas State alumna who graduated in 2017. The views and opinions expressed in this letter are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Collegian. Please send comments to opinion@kstatecollegian.com.