Archive for Monday, April 12, 2010

Alcohol initiative honors student’s memory

A KU fraternity and sorority are joining forces to remember the life of Jason Wren. The KU student died in 2009 from alcohol abuse. The initiative will be held April 16, 2010.

April 12, 2010


Two powerful speakers with one powerful message will come to Kansas University on Friday, hoping to change some students’ attitudes about alcohol.

Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity has joined with the Delta Gamma sorority to put on the first Jason Wren Initiative, an educational seminar on the dangers of underage drinking.

The event will honor the memory of former KU student Jason Wren, who died from alcohol poisoning in March 2009.

The 19-year-old freshman was found dead in bed at the SAE house after a night of heavy drinking. An autopsy later showed his blood alcohol content was .362, more than four times the legal limit for driving.

“The idea for this event started within days after Jason passed last year,” Sigma Alpha Epsilon adviser John Stacy said. “When you’ve got a number of young men who’ve never experienced any of their friends dying, it was a very emotional time. They decided they wanted to do something special in his honor.”

So the Jason Wren Initiative was born.

Organizers are hoping to attract up to 1,000 students to the event, set for 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday at Budig Auditorium.

“The whole reason we’re putting this initiative together is to provide support and help educate students on alternatives and things they can do to help themselves out,” Delta Gamma adviser Kristin Wing said.

Wren was not the only student who died last year in an alcohol-related incident. In April 2009, 18-year-old freshman Dalton Hawkins died after falling from the roof of Watkins Scholarship Hall. A coroner’s report showed he also had been drinking.

Those planning Friday’s event hope two key speakers will help change students’ attitudes about alcohol. Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and four-star Gen. Richard Myers will deliver a message about loss.

“He’s seen a career of young men die protecting their country,” Stacy said, “but to die because of alcohol, for a man like General Myers, doesn’t resonate. He sees it from a totally different point of view.”

The other presentation will come from Delta Gamma alumna and Ohio State University graduate Erica Upshaw, who lost her brother in an alcohol- and drug-related incident in 2000.

“I think Erica’s message is really going to be key,” Wing said. “She really talks peer to peer, and we’ve found in working with college students that it doesn’t really do a whole lot of good to point fingers. It’s really a discussion that’s going to come peer to peer from her.”


Zachary Stoltenberg 8 years, 1 month ago

OK, I'm confused. I feel terrible for the families of those who died, but I have a problem "honoring" someone who drank himself to death. Yes, educate so others don't make the same stupid choices, but don't venerate an idiot who made an idiotic choice to overinduldge in alcohol and become a dead idiot. This kids parent's are suing the frat and the university to compensate their failure as parents to teach their son about alcohol and we want to "honor his memory?". Puhlease...

boothillbilly 8 years, 1 month ago

because when I think "frat", "Abstinence" and "Temperance" are the first two words that jump into my mind.

zstolenberg, you got it right. Just another cynical ploy by SAE to dissipate blame and complicity.

Randall Barnes 8 years, 1 month ago

yes HONOR his memory,not the drinking but his memory.if you tell me i can't or shouldnt well then i probably will.educate teach just don't tell me what i can or can't do.

Paul R Getto 8 years, 1 month ago

This is so sad; we must keep working together to help students see that drinking themselves into a near-death state is not useful and 'fun.' Keep working together, parents, schools, universities and the Greek community. This problem must be solved or we will continue to lose youngsters.

Kontum1972 8 years, 1 month ago

so who is going to monitor all of this to make sure it goes off as planned?

special dept where they hire someone for 6 figures?

Zachary Stoltenberg 8 years, 1 month ago

Made_in_China (Paul R. Getto) says… This is so sad; we must keep working together to help students see that drinking themselves into a near-death state is not useful and 'fun.' Keep working together, parents, schools, universities and the Greek community. This problem must be solved or we will continue to lose youngsters.

Way to jump on the wagon there. This is perhaps the most ignorant statement I have read today. "We" shouldn't have to do anything. Why do people in this town think that we constantly have to babysit everyone and "save" them from themselves? This whole initiative thing is just what boothillbilly said it is. It's a show. And please don't go dragging the "greek community" into this. Wren was a fraternity pledge for four days. This isn't a problem that we all have to solve, it's a choice each person has to make, hopefully with the help of some education and parenting. Student's drink, students have always drank. Every year, all across the country, a few take it too far. Wren was an alcoholic, the Facebook pics of him boozing with his dad at a town bar (while he was underage) show his parents were aware of his habits. According to accounts of the night, he was twice put to bed and his booze taken away. He chose to continue to drink. It's very sad indeed, but it does not warrant the avalanche of emotional backlash we are seeing. Would the same attention be paid to a homeless guy who passed out drunk in an alley and died of alcohol poisoning? Doubtful, but the two are no different in my mind. Alcoholism is a very ugly thing and I cannot fathom the feelings the families of both of these young men are experiencing, I hope I never have to.

Paul R Getto 8 years, 1 month ago

This is so sad; we must find a way to intervene, educate and save our children from their drinking 'til death do us part.'

flyin_squirrel 8 years, 1 month ago

Until the drinking laws change, this will continue to be a problem. Teaching college students the right way to drink rather than telling them "don't drink" will go a long ways towards curtailing binge drinking.

yankeevet 8 years, 1 month ago

Honor the Kansas Soldiers who died in the war; instead of this alcoholic..

mom_of_three 8 years, 1 month ago

I am a little torn about this, too. These college students should be responsible for themselves, and yet, they are not, and everyone else is to blame when they do something wrong and stupid. I don't want to honor his memory, but use him as an example to other college students not to do what he did.

Ron Holzwarth 8 years, 1 month ago

When you're young, it's very easy to succomb to peer pressure. My opinion is that was a large contributing factor in what happened.

Evan Ridenour 8 years, 1 month ago

How about naming it after one of the countless victims of drunk driving we have had recently instead of naming it after some idiot who drank himself to death.

gr 8 years, 1 month ago

Is alcohol a controlled substance?

According to , which is listed under "Alcoholic Beverage Control - Drug tax", controlled substances must have a drug stamp tax affixed. (Not sure if affixed "immediately after receiving the substance" or "when they are seized") They have one category for marijuana and one controlled substances. Looks like all alcoholic beverages should have a drug tax affixed to them. Since it is not "customarily sold by weight", it would be $2,000 per 50 dosage units. Is that $40 a glass?

Someone better get on it as Kansas is missing out on revenue when badly needed!

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