*This editorial originally was printed in the Monday Feb. 29 edition of The Daily Eastern News
We are only two weeks of classes away from spring break, and we are sure you are already looking forward to it.
Some of you may have started celebrating this past Wednesday during the snow day.
Some may be celebrating this weekend with what people are calling “Unofficial.”
No one can stop you from celebrating St. Patrick’s Day almost two weeks early, but if you do plan on attending any festivities, be sure to be safe at all times.
Whether you stay on campus this weekend or go somewhere else, be smart and be safe if you choose to go out and celebrate.
People are going to drink this weekend, and some may drink much more than others.
If you are going to go out with your friends, plan ahead. People think it is all fun and games when they go out with their friends over the weekend, but anything could happen.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism reported in December 2015 that about 1,825 college students die from alcohol-related unintentional injuries every year.
Unofficial is one of those weekends that is not just a weekend either. More people are out and about, and more people are drinking just because it is Unofficial.
According to The New-Gazette, Unofficial started in the ‘90s as a bar promotion for St. Patrick’s Day on the campus of University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign because most students were at home during the holiday because of spring break.
Since then, the event has gotten much larger to where Urbana-Champaign police anticipate the event weeks in advance and has other Illinois state schools, including Eastern, to celebrate Unofficial on their own campuses.
No one can stop you from doing what you want to do. That is your choice, but again, if you plan to participate and go out, be safe and plan ahead.
If you are in a group, look out for one another and know when others have had enough.
People go out and seem to think drinking is just a competition, but it is really not. Know when you reach your limit and look out for others as well.
NIAAA explained in their December 2015 findings that four drinks for women and five drinks for men in a two-hour span is considered binge drinking as it brings the blood alcohol concentration level to .08, which is the amount where an individual is considered legally impaired.
If you see someone who needs help, help them or call 911 if it is an emergency. Just because you don’t know someone doesn’t mean you cannot help. It could make all the difference.
If you are under 21, you obviously shouldn’t be drinking anyway because that’s against state law. But it is 2016, and students who are under 21 have found many ways to get their hands on alcohol.
Whatever your age is – it should only be 21 and over – be safe wherever you are this weekend if you’re celebrating Unofficial.
Unofficial may be a day to go out, but that doesn’t mean it’s a day to go crazy.
Be aware of your surroundings and know what is going on. If you feel or think you’ve had enough, that’s a sign to go home and go to bed. It is not a sign to keep going.
The daily editorial is the majority opinion of the editorial board of The Daily Eastern News