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Greeks to learn dangers of alcohol abuse

February 1, 2001

Order of Omega co-president Michael Pirret said the greek system tends to have a bad reputation when it comes to alcohol-related problems.

The order, a national greek honor society, is sponsoring Cindy McCue’s visit to campus in an attempt to stop alcohol problems before they start. Her son, MSU student Bradley McCue, a parks and recreation junior, died of alcohol poisoning on his 21st birthday on Nov. 5, 1998, after drinking 24 shots.

She will speak at 7 p.m. on Monday in the Union Ballroom to members of MSU’s fraternities and sororities about the potential risks of alcohol abuse.

“Obviously it is important to everyone to understand alcohol and the risks that are involved because there are students who drink regularly and in large quantities and don’t understand the consequences,” McCue said. “That is what I hope to teach them.”

McCue and her husband John founded the nonprofit organization Be Responsible About Drinking, Inc. (BRAD) with the hopes of educating others so they will avoid the fate their son met.

Pirret, a political economy junior, said many chapters are making attendance at McCue’s talk mandatory for new members from the recent spring recruitment.

Blair Hess, president of Phi Delta Theta, said new members from fall and spring recruitment, formerly known as rush, will be required to go. But he is encouraging all members to attend.

“These kids need to know that pounding 21 shots on your birthday should not be accepted and not what everyone should do,” the economics junior said.

The McCues travel to schools around the nation speaking to students about alcohol abuse. They have also instituted programs at 34 colleges and universities where people who are turning 21 receive a birthday card reminding them to be safe as they celebrate.

“Just about everyone I know has gotten the card on their birthday,” Hess said. “It contains an extremely valuable message.”

Hess said he thinks the message will be stronger when it is coming from someone like McCue, who has personal experience with the dangers of alcohol.

“Hearing it from someone firsthand is not like hearing it from someone at the university who thinks they know what is best for you,” Hess said. “I think everyone will respect what she has to say.”

McCue said she thinks she brings a different perspective that hits home.

“After one talk I did, I had a young man come up to me and tell me he got really emotional about what I was saying,” McCue said. “He told me he kept thinking, ‘what if that was my mom?’”

Fadia El-Asfahani, president of Alpha Phi sorority, said her chapter is not making attendance at the event mandatory, but she and many other members are choosing to hear McCue speak.

“Alcohol awareness is very important in general but especially under the circumstances she has been through,” the advertising and marketing junior said. “Education about the effects of too much drinking is vital for everyone.”

McCue said there is something for everyone in the message she tries to deliver.

“Even people who don’t think it affects them personally can learn something,” she said. “They realize they never know when something could happen to them or their friends.”

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