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OSU email encourages students to take shots at drinking, celebrating safely

If you’re turning 21, you’ve probably gotten your new driver’s license and made plans with friends to take your first legal drink at midnight. If you’re an Ohio State student turning 21, you’ve also gotten a birthday wish from the university.

More than a light-hearted birthday wish, the email the Student Wellness Center sends to students before their 21st birthdays warns against the dangers of going overboard with drinking.

Amanda Blake, wellness coordinator at the Student Wellness Center, said the message is sent out to all enrolled students to let them know the university is worried about their health and safety.

Though the email tells students the information is not supposed to be a “buzz kill,” it specifically warns against participating in traditions like taking 21 shots.

“Celebrate, but do not feel like you have to take 21 shots or drink to the extreme,” the email reads. “You need to turn 22 next year!”

Andy Burrow, a third-year in accounting, turned 21 on Feb. 12 and said the email didn’t affect his plans.

“I guess I know my limit already, and I knew I was never going to try to push myself to have 21 shots or something crazy,” Burrow said.

Setting a limit and counting your drinks is key for a safe and fun celebration, Blake said.

Included in the birthday email is a chart that shows how blood alcohol content levels change for men and women as they drink.

Taking 21 shots in 4.5 hours would make an average man’s BAC rise to 0.4 percent while an average woman’s would climb to 0.65 percent, according to the email. Death can occur at a BAC of 0.3 percent.

Burrow said he found the email “sort of comical,” but knows it is important to set limits and stick to them.

“Your 21st birthday should be fun,” Burrow said. “But obviously I think people realize there is major consequences and they come about if you don’t know your limit and go overboard.”

Sara Santiago, a third-year in psychology, said she doesn’t think that students take the email seriously.

“They see (the emails) as a joke most of the time,” Santiago said. “They think it’s just another way for the university to try and cover themselves in case anything happens.”

Santiago, who turns 21 on March 21, is planning a low-key celebration at home during spring break because getting wasted “is just not my style,” she said.

“I’ll probably drink a margarita with my mom and call it a day,” Santiago said.

Though Santiago isn’t planning on going overboard, she said the email won’t stop those who are.

“The email doesn’t prevent or cause anything to happen,” Santiago said. “If they’re going to go hard, they’re going to go hard.”

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