I was recently talking to my niece - a college student at UWM.
She told me a troubling story about a recent night out she had with some new friends she met at school. The group of friends, including my niece, made plans to go to an East Side club on a Friday night. They agreed to meet in a designated spot near UWM and then carpool to the club in the area.
At the club, they all had fun.
They danced. They drank. They met up with more friends. They danced more. It was a great night ... up until it was time to leave. When the club closed, the driver in the group drove everyone to their cars and then went home.
My niece, still tipsy, stood and waved goodbye as her friends left her standing next to her car - alone.
No one asked her if she was sober enough to drive.
No one seemed concerned about their own or her condition.
To everyone, it was just another fun night of laughs and dancing. Nothing was wrong. And driving was never discussed.
Thankfully, my niece knew enough to call her very tired but forgiving sister for a ride home. However, every other person in this group (4 total) did drive home. And according to my niece, all of them were drinking.
My stomach sank when I heard this story.
Here is a great idea.
Pepsi is currently giving money nation-wide for "GREAT IDEAS". And Milwaukee - IMPACT's Change Milwaukee's Culture of Risky and Excessive Drinking - is in this competition. If enough people vote for this idea, we could win 250K toward a campaign to promote safer drinking in this area. The contest ends June 30 and you can vote once per day. This idea is currently at 187.
I love living near a city known for its good beer and breweries. The Miller Brewery tour is a lot of fun. And I also love that we have charming microbreweries popping up around this area. However, more caution and responsibility (especially for college age kids) need to be in place. I've heard of too many young people drinking and driving home without any hesitation.
My own kids are still very young. But at some point, like my niece, they will be old enough to go with their own friends. Will my kids and their friends remember the warnings of responsibility when they head out on a Friday night? Will they know when to stop drinking and when to ignore peer pressure or when to make a phone call? I don't know. I really hope so. Unforntunately, at that time, having their mom around to tell them what to do or to whisper advice in their ear just won't be very cool.