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Sept. 27: From the SMU Daily Campus Hazing awareness

SMU joins 94 other universities on Sept. 27 for National Gordie Day in order to promote alcohol awareness on college campuses and commemorate those who have died from alcohol abuse.

Sponsored by SMU’s Center for Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention and the student group, Circle of Trust, the day’s events include a candlelight vigil on Sept. 23 and a visually stimulating flood of 1,700 little green flags tacked into the grass in front of Dallas Hall. The flags represent the 1,700 students whose lives are lost to alcohol poisoning each year.

The Gordie Foundation was founded by Leslie and Michael Lanahan in memory of their son, 18-year-old Gordie Bailey. The University of Colorado freshman died of alcohol poisoning in September of 2004 after a fraternity initiation.

Statistics show that alcohol kills 6.5 more students annually than all other drugs combined, and 82 percent of hazing deaths involve alcohol. National Gordie Day will coincide with National Hazing Prevention Week this year in hopes that anti-hazing efforts will help provide a framework to discuss responsible alcohol use.

“When health is absent, wisdom cannot reveal itself, art cannot manifest, strength cannot fight, wealth becomes useless and intelligence cannot be applied,” said Megan Knapp, a health educator at SMU.

The mission of the Gordie Foundation “is to provide today’s young people with the skills to navigate the dangers of alcohol, binge drinking, peer pressure and hazing.”

In the past, SMU has collaborated with the Gordie Foundation on mirror clings hung in residence hall bathrooms that highlight the signs of alcohol poisoning. SMU also hosted National Gordie Day on campus last year.

By Hank Nuwer

Hank Nuwer is the Indiana-based author of Broken Pledges: The Deadly Rite of Hazing, High School Hazing, Wrongs of Passage and The Hazing Reader. He has written articles or columns on hazing for the Sunday Times of India, Toronto Globe & Mail, Harper's Magazine, Orlando Sentinel, The Chronicle of Higher Education and the New York Times Sunday Magazine. His new book is Hazing: Destroying Young Lives from Indiana University Press.

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