Sept. 24 marked National Gordie Day, an event founded by the family of a college student who died of an alcohol overdose and focuses on preventing hazing, peer pressure, and excessive drinking.
The Dallas Morning News reported Sept. 22 that the Gordie Foundation, named in honor of Lynn Gordon (“Gordie”) Bailey Jr., has helped launch “Circle of Trust” groups at colleges around the country. Bailey, 18, died in 2004 while a student at the University of Colorado after taking part in a fraternity hazing ritual.
Part of the Circle of Trust mission is to encourage fellow students to call for help if they see someone with signs of alcohol poisoning. “If only someone had made that call for Gordie,” said his mother, Leslie Lanahan.
At Southern Methodist University (SMU), students marked National Gordie Day with a candlelight vigil and a display of 1,825 flags — one for each 18- to 25-year-old in the U.S. who has died this year due to alcohol-related causes. The foundation also has produced mirror clings that detail the signs of alcohol poisoning — pale skin, confusion, irregular breathing, seizures, vomiting and passing out.
Brooks L. Powell, a student member of SMU’s President’s Commission on Substance Abuse Prevention task force, said the Gordie Foundation has helped prevent tragedies at his school. “Now people make the call when roommates come back intoxicated,” he said. “A student was transferred to the hospital with a BA [blood alcohol level] of .360. He made it. Gordie died at .328.”
National Gordie Day is held in conjunction with National Hazing Prevention Week.