This may come off as an odd and somewhat surprising claim, but I am one of the girls mentioned in Editor-in-Chief James Steinbauer’s most recent column. My housemate and I were the ones to have the conversation with our friend (let’s call him Matt, for the sake of his privacy), in Kofenya this past weekend.

First off, I wanted to applaud you on your bold call to our fellow classmates in a culture that believes it thrives off of an alcohol-focused culture. I would argue that it is not as much thriving as it is barely making it through. Your article is quickly being spread across social media, leading to an even larger impact. It is an issue which needs even greater awareness brought to it. Bringing it close to home makes a difference.

I also wanted to shed light on the conversation you overheard on Saturday. Yes, Matt did in fact say that he wanted to try drinking an entire bottle of whiskey, but you should find comfort in a few things. First, my housemate and I were appalled by his suggestion and were unwilling to let him go until he knew the real danger of it. I am glad you were able to use our situation to create a story for the article, but please know that neither of us saw it as a joking matter whatsoever. I am strongly against alcohol use and struggle to watch so many of my friends fall into it. Second, Matt did not end up drinking the whole bottle of whiskey. I remained in close communication with him throughout the night, simply to keep him accountable and know that he was okay.  Although he had what I would consider too many drinks, which I strongly encouraged him not to do, he is doing fine and expressed a desire to not drink more than one drink at a time in the future. For that, I am thankful.

I hope you will receive this letter well, as an encouragement that this one incident did not end up like Erica’s and that your words do make an impact. Please continue to fight this battle; it is a one worth investing a great deal in.

Leah Grandy