Updated: Friday, 27 Aug 2010, 2:30 PM CDT
Published : Thursday, 26 Aug 2010, 10:29 PM CDT
AUSTIN (KXAN) - Walking to her west campus apartment after class, University of Texas student Joanie Guiling said it is tough not to think of a late-night trip that same way after the past weekend.
A young woman had passed out drunk, lying in a pool of her own vomit, on Guiling's doorstep.
"I went down there and was like, ‘Is there anybody who can come help her?’ Guiling said. “They came and took her away, and I'm hoping she's okay now."
Guiling’s surprise at her front door was not the only student indulging a little too much just hours before the first day of classes began.
Police say two students were each found in their bathrooms - one foaming at the mouth, one suffering from alcohol poisoning. Both were binge drinking in the process of joining a sorority, and both were young women. View the UT Campus Watch report here .
"I don't know,” said Jamie Englert, another UT student. “I just thought guys were more wild on campus, but I guess that's not true. Girls are, too."
Using data from National Survey on Drug Use and Health , a recent study by the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis said, in nearly the past three decades, only one group has gone up in the number of binge drinkers - by 30%, at that. Now, 39% of college women binge drink.
"I have friends that are girls and will take like nine shots and are still looking at you,” said Alma Debosque.
UT tries to educate with an online course called AlcoholEdu , warning of the dangers in drinking too much. The Alcohol and Drug Awareness program has been required for all incoming freshmen since 2009.
A recent UT Student Health Center survey showed 98% of students said their peers drink alcohol.
"It's good to just focus on your school work and be responsible,” said Holly Briggs.
Still, one of the most effective ways the UT School of Public Health has found to curb binge drinking, as part of personalized feedback, is to translate your liquor intake to calories. For instance, four beers equal one Big Mac,
"Uh, well, I'm a heavy weight,” said UT student Aaron Marsh. “Maybe around like 18 or 20."
20 beers equal 5 Big Macs.
After asking Guiling her limit, she responded, “Five or six. That would be like whoa for me probably"
Six would be – 1.5 Big Macs. Besides not wanting to be that woman on the doorstep, now she has something else to chew on the next time she goes out.
"Oooh, gross,” she said. “No, I didn't know that."
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism , high-risk drinking by college students was responsible for more than 3 million driving incidents, almost 600,000 injuries, and 1,825 deaths last year.
UT freshman Jack Phoummarath died of acute alcohol poisoning after a night of binge drinking and hazing activities while attending a party at the Lambda Phi Epsilon fraternity in 2005. His family received $4.2 million in a legal settlement.
Part of the money went to educate fraternity and sorority members about the dangers of binge drinking. Three members of the fraternity were charged in the death.
In 2006, another UT fraternity pledge fell to his death from the balcony of an off-campus dormitory. Four former leaders of Sigma Epsilon pleaded “no contest” to hazing in 2008. Two served four days in jail for their roles as pledge trainers. All four received deferred adjudication and had to attend alcohol awareness training.
Austin Police ruled Cross’ death an accident, but the county attorney went after the members for hazing the pledge class.
The Center for Disease Control says, among 18- to 24-year olds, bingers have an average 10 drinks per binge and four binges per month.