Personal choice trumps health concerns for students

While the University of New Hampshire considers banning the sale of energy drinks, students on Main Campus said they would not accept the same treatment. From The Boston Globe to USA Today, word is getting

While the University of New Hampshire considers banning the sale of energy drinks, students on Main Campus said they would not accept the same treatment.

From The Boston Globe to USA Today, word is getting around about the University of New Hampshire’s plan to ban the sale of all energy drinks on campus, effective January 2012. 

As UNH prepares to implement this ruling, other universities consider doing the same. While Temple has not announced any plans to impose a similar policy, students still spoke out against the possibility.

UNH President Mark Huddleston originally announced the discontinuation of all energy drink sales on campus Oct. 3. However, Huddleston said he then chose to withhold the decision the same night until more research was gathered.

As a response to the original press release, New Hampshire Media Relations published an article claiming the school’s Dining Services is simply trying to provide complete dedication to campus health and safety.

This is not the first step UNH Dining, which oversees seven retail and three dining hall locations, has taken in its commitment to health, and it won’t be the last, according to the article.

Huddleston said the insufficient amount of research on the matter and the students’ ruthless uproar against the administration were the main reasons he postponed the decision.

An opinion columnist from the university’s independent student newspaper, The New Hampshire, wrote, “I understand that getting worked up over energy drinks is silly, especially when they are much cheaper downtown, but it was the principle of the situation that bothered me the most. Where do you draw the line? What is the next thing that they will take from us?”

“If they want to drink [alcohol] with Red Bull they’ll go down to a convenience store,” UNH sophomore Peter Hoffman said. “It’s cheaper there anyway.”

“These products, while legal and safe when consumed as intended, have been proven unsafe when overused or mixed with alcohol,” Assistant Vice President for Business Affairs of New Hampshire, David May said.

The administration and UNH Dining Services have been evaluating this problem as another reason to ban the drinks from campus.

Some Temple students expressed concern that if this ban were to be brought to Temple, they wouldn’t have a voice in the decision.

“Students should have the right to make that decision,” freshman political science major Nick Brown said.

Brown said banning energy drinks will not stop students from buying the beverages if they really want them.

“I don’t drink energy drinks, so it probably wouldn’t affect me, but I see a lot of people around campus drinking them and they even have the red bull trucks handing out free samples. So I think it would affect people,” added freshman Jackie Strohm. “Although it doesn’t personally affect me, there’s a ton of people [at Temple who consume energy drinks].”

“I think it’s kind of crazy,” junior Corinda Bergey said. “I don’t think people should be allowed to tell you what you can or can’t drink. I mean, I realize there’s alcohol laws and everything, but energy drinks? That’s a little crazy.”

According to senior Evan Bjorke, college students are adults, too and they should be able to decide for themselves, citing the fact that many energy drinks have the same caffeine content as coffee.

The label of every Red Bull can reads: “Improves performance, especially during times of increased stress or strain; increases endurance; increases concentration and improves reaction speed; stimulates the metabolism.”

UNH administration expressed its concern for the potentially fatal mixing of energy drinks with alcohol.

“Not necessarily is it a good idea, but it is [the university’s] property, so they get to choose what they want and what they don’t want to sell,” freshman biology major Kimberly Russo said. “It would create a safer environment for all of the students.”

Gina Villecco can be reached at

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