Pink eye and grill burns are a few of weekend’s dangers

Although a seemingly safe outdoor activity, grills can prove hazardous in careless hands.

The 2006 bonfire embers have long since died, and the snow sculpture seems to have melted ages ago. Those of us lucky enough to have survived the Homecoming inferno and the Winter Carnival hot tub find ourselves anxiously anticipating the upcoming events of Green Key weekend. Without the pathetic drinking tolerances of Fall term and the winter’s subzero temperatures, Green Key seems harmless … right? Think again, party animals. Green Key injuries and illnesses are a dime a dozen.

To begin, let’s examine the Green Key foam party hosted by Chi Heorot fraternity. In essence, the brothers fill their basement with a liquid foam substance, setting quite the mood for the annual grindfest.

Each year, however, foam party partygoers complain of contracting pink eye, a contagious virus that causes inflammation of the eye and inner eyelids (so hot right now).

“Pink eye is usually caused by a virus which can [be] best passed around when large groups of people are squeezed into a small space. Pink eye is not a serious illness but can be a nuisance,” John Turco, director of Dartmouth College Health Services, said.

Despite the unpleasant symptoms of pink eye, the brothers of Heorot risk their optical health year after year for the sake of a ragey Green Key Weekend. In fact, some brothers have learned to embrace pink eye.

“Sometimes I just turn the machine on in my room and soak in some good old-fashioned conjunctivitis. I find more girls talk to me when I have crust under my glasses,” Chi Heorot member Daniel Shribman ’07 said.

For those of us less enthused by the prospect of pink eye, Dr. Turco offers practical advice.

“To avoid getting exposed, stay out of crowded, closed spaces like frat basements,” he said.

Shribman argues that Green Key partygoers have no need to worry about contracting pink eye at Heorot this year because the brothers have addressed the health hazard.

“Yes, the foam caused pink eye last year in a few cases, but the problem with the moisture in the machine has been fixed,” he said.

I doubt it’s a surprise to anyone that, according to Turco, the most prevalent illnesses and injuries during Green Key are alcohol related.

“Keep an eye on friends and if they are getting intoxicated get them out of the party. If they are very intoxicated make use of the Good Samaritan Policy and get them help by calling [Safety and Security] or walking them down to Dick’s House,” he said.

One Green Key Weekend stood out in Turco’s mind as particularly out of hand.

“One year I remember there must have been a particularly potent Long Island [iced] tea since we had three students admitted by 7 p.m. intoxicated,” he said.

Students recall the infamous Long Island iced tea with regret.

“If it weren’t for that sh*t, maybe I wouldn’t have herpes,” said a student who preferred to remain anonymous because he was “joking” about the herpes.

Regardless of whether iced-tea-herpes-guy is fibbing or not, it’s no mystery that Dartmouth students love the occasional drink and the hookups that follow. That’s all great, but keep it safe in the bedroom — Dick’s House, dorm vending machines, Topside and CVS are stocked with condoms.

Another Green Key health hazard is the outdoor party grill. Sure everyone loves a hotdog now and then, but each year grill burns are a common, not to mention unpleasant, side effect of Green Key festivities. I recommend flipping burgers before boarding the blackout train.

Let us learn from these mistakes of past Green Key partiers. Take it easy in the foam, avoid questionable Long Island iced tea (and the guys who drink it and “joke” about their herpes), keep the sex safe and try to be semi-sober while grilling. These simple tips might make everyone’s Green Key a little less Dick’s House related.

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