Alcohol documentary remembers ‘Spady’ tragedy

One would never fathom the thought that going to a party in college and drinking excessively would result in serious injuries or worse, death. That is what Sam Spady, former college student at Colorado State University, thought before going to a party one night on Sept. 5, 2004.

After the Colorado State University football game, Spady went out with her friends to a fraternity party on campus. She had shots of vanilla vodka with her peers, passed out in a room by herself and was later found dead the next day.

Spady was a woman who had potential for her future and was actively involved with her school and friends. Students at Sonoma State University gathered on Oct. 22 in the Cooperage to watch a short film called “Death by Alcohol: The Sam Spady Story,” expressing the life of Spady and the usage of binge drinking.

“It [was] extremely touching [to] hear from both her mom and dad,” said Sauvignon Village West Coordinator Anthony Farmer. “It is very easy for college students to picture that being their parents.”

As the film progressed, students sat eagerly on their seats, listening to this tragic story, feeling the pain that Spady’s parents had felt.

“Before tonight, I had never heard about Sam Spady and this tragic accident that happened to her,” said freshman Laleh Tchaparian.

Students were able to relate their social life at parties to this movie and reflect on binge drinking with their friends.

“I can’t say I haven’t been to a party in college,” said Tchaparian. “But I can say I have gone to parties sober.”

The movie was played as part of National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness week, which happens at all college and university campuses across the United States. As the movie came to an end, Director of Hutchins Dialogue Center Margaret Anderson led a discussion about binge drinking with the student audience.

“I am expecting students not [only] to ‘just say no’ but really know what happened, and learn the specific things they need to do in certain situations involving binge drinking,” said Anderson.

Students discussed the reality of binge drinking amongst each other and were able to open up about issues or concerns that occur at parties.

“I hope they understand the dangers of binge drinking and [I hope] that they will call if their [friend] needs help,” said Farmer. “If their friend is exhibiting signs of not breathing, unconsciousness, or clammy skin, call 911 and do not assume that they will sleep it off.”

As students in college, it is not uncommon to binge drink at social events off campus. Many students are aware of the consequences that can occur from excessive drinking. Since students at most if not all colleges binge drink, they should be aware and educated of the signs and warnings of people drinking too much alcohol in one night.

“After National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness week on Sonoma’s campus, I want students to take alcohol consumption seriously,” said Farmer. “To also realize that it can be deadly and hopefully try to prevent a tragedy [from happening] on this campus.”

Students should not be afraid to call for help, whether they are on campus or not. If their friend or peer is unconscious or unable to breathe correctly, call 911. As binge drinking increases at colleges and universities, students should be responsible for their health and well-being.

Help a friend that is in need; tell them they have had too much to drink and they should stop. “Just say no” are the three words that can prevent any death from binge drinking.