When the Mustang Daily reported the death of Cal Poly senior Spencer Wood, 22, in July, it was one of the most difficult stories the staff has had to write in the past year. Articles on student deaths are always tragic, but Woods’ death particularly struck us because it was preventable.
Wood had been drinking with friends at a bar in Avila Beach after a concert and stepped outside to take a phone call. Friends speculate that his lack of sobriety most likely caused him to fall down a shallow drainage wash, which is where his body was discovered the next afternoon.
Wood was supposed to graduate at the end of this quarter.
The history and political science student was remembered again on Saturday in a memorial service on campus. While his life should be celebrated, his death can also serve as a lesson. Every year, approximately 1,400 college students die from alcohol-related deaths, according to MSNBC.
Many Cal Poly students party with alcohol on weekends to loosen up, but many may not realize the damage several drinks can have on their bodies. Excessive alcohol consumption kills about 75,000 people every year in the United States, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Cal Poly has seen its share of alcohol-related deaths over the years and more are certainly to come in the next 10.
But what if that next death was you?
What if you drank one too many drinks next weekend? Your friends would have to read about how you died in the Mustang Daily. Your classmates would have to look at your empty desk in class. Your parents would have to come clear out your apartment.
Binge drinking doesn’t always lead to death though. Among underage college students, 50,000 have experienced alcohol-related date rape and another 430,000 have been assaulted by another student who had been drinking, according to stopalcoholabuse.gov.
Of course students drink in college and they always will. But the Mustang Daily encourages you to practice a little moderation the next time you pour yourself a drink. Know your limit and understand what happens if you cross your tolerance line.
We really don’t want to write your obituary.
Editorials reflect the opinion of the Mustang Daily editorial staff.