Drinking Danger?

By: Paige Lambrecht
By: Paige Lambrecht

A freshman at UW Madison is in critical condition after falling from a second story balcony this past weekend. According to police, the fall happened at a party while the student, 18-year-old Jason Gratzl, was drinking.

The accident has prompted university officials all over Wisconsin to warn about the dangers of binge drinking. We visited the Stevens Point campus to find out if students who choose not to drink have enough alternatives. They say they do.

"There's just a ton of activities to do. We got a huge list of 20 activities of different things to do, kickball, volleyball, all kinds of things."

These UWSP students say in their first few days on campus, the school has offered them plenty of things to do that have nothing to do with drinking, and that's what UW officials like to hear.

Greg Diekroeger is with Campus Activities and Recreation and says, "We're not trying to fill every hour of the day for them, but we're trying to provide some choices.”

Not just campus officials are trying to discourage binge drinking.

Christine Conklin is a sophomore involved with a Christian group on campus and says, "We have a lot of activities these first few days before school starts in the evening when the parties are and so it's a lot easier for kids who don't want to drink to go."

Both students and officials say offering alternate choices is all they can do, because in the end, how these students choose to spend their time is up to them.

There was another concern raised after Jason Gratzl fell from that balcony in Madison, and that's the safety of off-campus housing.

Jim Zepp, the Stevens Point building inspector, says there are pretty strict rules for off-campus student housing and around the point campus most of them are very safe.