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UMass Amherst to warn of risks of large-volume drinking after intoxicated students hospitalized

The UMass Amherst campus in Amherst, Massachusetts.
Nirvani Williams
The UMass Amherst campus in Amherst, Massachusetts.

Officials at the University of Massachusetts Amherst said they will be adjusting the school's alcohol education programs. The decision comes after almost 30 students had to be transported by ambulance to the hospital over the weekend.

The students were taking part in an annual off-campus party tradition called the Blarney Blowout.

UMass officials said many students were seen carrying plastic gallon containers believed to be BORG's — Black Out Rage Gallons — which have gained popularity among the college crowd on TikTok and are typically a potent mix of water, alcohol, and flavoring.

Brandi Hephner LeBanc, who is vice chancellor for student affairs and campus life at UMass, said the university is not waiting to respond.

"Our immediate strategy is to make sure we get some quick messaging out to students and their families, especially with spring break coming up," she said. "We want to make sure that they understand the risks inherent in this large-volume drinking."

Once students return to campus the college will present any changes to the current programs to address the risks and challenges that come with large-volume drinking, she said.

LeBanc said some of the students involved in the weekend events could face consequences from the university.

Note: The license for NEPM’s main radio signal is held by UMass Amherst. The newsroom operates independently.

Before joining New England Public Media, Alden was a producer for the CBS NEWS program 60 Minutes. In that role, he covered topics ranging from art, music and medicine to business, education and politics.

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