Rituals can provide us with a sense of order and security. In a study of the drinking rituals of college students, the researchers found that drinking imposed order in students’ daily lives—from the completion of assignments to what and when to eat. In addition, ritualizing an activity such as drinking provided security and fellowship at a time fraught with confusion and turbulent change. Obviously, though, there is a dark side to drinking rituals. Consider the highly publicized death of a Massachusetts Institute of Technology student who died three days after falling into an alcohol-induced coma as the result of a fraternity pledge. Indeed, binge drinking is probably the most widely practiced ritual among college students; it has been described as the most significant health hazard on college campuses today. What role does drinking play in the social life on your campus? Based on your experience, how does it fit into rituals of college life? Should these practices be changed? If so, how?
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