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FSU President Joins Federal Task Force To Curb Binge Drinking

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FROSTBURG, Md. (WJZ)—Leading by example. Frostburg State University is getting national attention for its programs that curb binge drinking.

Weijia Jiang shows us why.

The president of Frostburg State University says his message to students is not to stop drinking altogether; it’s to be aware of how much is too much.

Guzzling massive amounts of alcohol and going to college are a notorious pair. One the president of Frostburg State University is fighting to break up.

“I don’t want a student to die,” said Jonathan Gibralter, FSU president. “I’m very realistic. I know students are going to drink.”

Gibralter has been at Frostburg for five years implementing several policies to curb binge drinking, like notifying parents of incidents and requiring freshmen to learn alcohol safety.

This week, Gibralter joined a federal task force to help schools nationwide.

“I don’t really see as much partying going on as I used to,” said Arrielle Smallwood-Evans, FSU student.

The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, which formed the task force, estimates 1,700 college students die every year in alcohol-related accidents.

Two have died at Frostburg since 1996. Some say the party school atmosphere is permanent.

“I guess rowdy would be a good term,” said Megan Buckmaster, FSU student. “It gets crazy at times.”

“I really don’t think people care what Gibralter says,” said Tom Ehrig, FSU student. “I don’t think him making rules is going to stop us. We want to do it more ’cause he’s making rules.”

Administrators point to a FSU survey that shows in 1997 59 percent of students admitted to binge drinking. In 2009 it went down to 43 percent.

Gibralter is confident more young people are learning to moderate.

“Listen, let’s be honest,” he said. “Young people, when they go away to school, they’re going to drink. The more we can educate people about smart consumption, the better off we’ll be.”

Gibralter says the task force will meet for the first time in May.

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