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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

10/10 goes down as smooth as a cold drink

Administrators, organizers, and students agree that this year’s 10/10 was a resounding success for the majority of partiers, with new policies enacted by the Harm Reduction Committee providing a better atmosphere for the annual campus-wide celebration. An increase in the number of ACE Security personnel and garbage cans at Eighth Street helped keep the party safe, legal, and enjoyable.

“10/10 this year went very well,” said Scott Hoag ’12, one of the organizers of the party. “As far as we know now, there was little physical damage to the campus, and people were clearly having fun.”

But one new aspect of this year’s 10/10 was not well received. This year, the biggest question of the party was not about which students ended their night in Gardner—it was about which students ended their night in the hospital.

“This was my third year on call for 10/10, and the campus unity was by far the strongest I’ve ever seen,” said Jamaland Residence Life Coordinator Dan Hirsch. “However, the number of students who needed RLC and medical attention was very high and left an unfortunate scar on a mostly positive event.”

Ambulances transported three students to the Grinnell Regional Medical Center during the evening for alcohol poisoning. This number of hospitalizations is relatively high. Last year, no students were taken to Grinnell Regional Medical Center, and in 2009, only one student was hospitalized.

“We want an environment where people feel comfortable calling for help, and they do,” said Health and Wellness Coordinator Jen Jacobsen ‘95. “However, hospitalizations are not the best measure of the success of the evening. The evening can go well, even with the need for hospitalizations.”

However, in addition to the three hospitalizations, eight students were close calls, and although their night didn’t ultimately end up in the Hospital, that type of alcohol consumption is a concern for those working to keep 10/10 safe and fun. Organizers of the party were careful to keep 10/10 under control. Ten kegs of beer were purchased for the party, but only nine were consumed, and food was passed out at various stops along the route.

“We, as organizers, were upset to hear about the hospitalizations, but it seems that most of those were not tangential to the alcohol we provided,” Hoag said. “They were making poor decisions on their own, and that’s very troubling.”

The College community’s alcohol use was discussed at a Harm Reduction Committee meeting after the party. Administrators and students called for a campus-wide “discussion” to discuss the best and worst parts of 10/10.

“Preventing hospitalizations requires changing drinking culture,” said SGA Vice President Chris Dorman. “The amount of alcohol provided was not the cause. It was that people wanted to get wasted.”

Also, while not as troubling as the hospitalizations, the fact that a few student’s night’s ended with an arrest is equally as serious. This year, the police arrested three students during the party, although one was not a college student at Grinnell.

“We hit a perfect storm,” said Jacobsen. “It was homecoming for the high school, so the police department was spread a little thin.”

For next year, staff and students hope to make more changes that will continue the GC Pride tradition of 10/10, while limiting the potential for unfortunate endings.

“I love the idea of beginning 10/10 earlier,” said Dorman. “Start 10/10 as a barbecue, with beer earlier in the evening. That way, there would be less opportunity for people to make poor decisions on their own. With self-gov, students can look out for each other.”

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