Julia Starkey was in a sorority and Scott Starkey was in a fraternity at the University of Texas.
Julia jokes â€œit was a long time agoâ€ but noted they had positive, safe experiences.
Scott and Julia said they talked openly with their son about the risks of sex, drugs and drinking before he left for college.
But alcohol poisoning wasnâ€™t something they knew much about.
They hope other parents will inform themselves and their children about its dangers.
â€œI just donâ€™t know how drinking has become almost competitive for some young people,â€ Scott Starkey said. â€œNow there are drinking games and a culture of pressure that puts lives at risk. College students need to find other outlets to have fun.â€
Carson Starkey was given rum, beer, a Sparks alcohol beverage and Everclear, which contains 75 percent alcohol.
He consumed the drinks in a matter of minutes, following direction from fraternity leaders â€” some of whom encouraged pledges to vomit and keep drinking.
Tests after Carsonâ€™s death determined that he had a blood-alcohol level of between 0.39 and 0.44 â€” five times the legal limit for driving.
The so-called Brown Bag night that led to Carsonâ€™s death was a tradition at the Cal Poly SAE chapter, fraternity members said.
â€œHe could have been saved if the fraternity brothers hadnâ€™t been scared of the consequences of taking Carson to the hospital,â€ Julia Starkey said.
The Starkeys learned of their sonâ€™s death after Julia received a midmorning call from the 805 area code on Dec. 2, 2008. She dialed the number back and reached the coronerâ€™s office.
â€œI immediately went and got Scott and we spoke with (deputy coroner) Steve Crawford,â€ Julia Starkey said. â€œI donâ€™t think there was any good way to receive the news.â€
The Starkeys have flown to San Luis Obispo nine times for matters relating to their sonâ€™s death. They say the community here has been sympathetic and supportive.
And theyâ€™ve met frequently with San Luis Obispo Police Department officials as well as prosecutor Craig Van Rooyen.
Four members of SAE were charged criminally; the last two of the cases wrapped up last week.
Zacary Ellis, Haithem Ibrahim, Adam Marszal and Russell Taylor each pleaded no contest to misdemeanor hazing resulting in death.
Ellis was sentenced to 120 days in County Jail and three years of informal probation.
Ibrahim was sentenced to 45 days in County Jail, three yearsâ€™ informal probation and cooperation in Cal Polyâ€™s anti-hazing education efforts.
Taylor and Marszal each received 30 days in County Jail, three years misdemeanor probation and 40 hours community service or two presentations on hazing and alcohol.
â€œThe most recent plea results in all four defendants admitting their responsibility for the death of Carson Starkey,â€ Van Rooyen said. â€œHazing is a serious problem and, unfortunately, has resulted in the untimely death of a promising young man.â€
The Starkeys have sued Sigma Alpha Epsilon, a move they hope will stop the kind of behavior that led to their sonâ€™s fatality.