As president of Bloomsburg University and father of three adult children, my heart goes out to the family and friends of student-athlete Brian Savage, who passed away overnight Friday at an off-campus apartment.
Our entire campus community feels the tragic loss of this 19-year-old soccer player from Elizabethtown. It is always painfully difficult to inform a student’s family of news of this nature. The shock still lingers as we continue to mourn the loss of this young man who was beginning his sophomore year and second season on the Huskies men’s soccer team.
This tragedy was felt immediately, as evident by more than 100 messages left on his Facebook page as of Tuesday afternoon. We continue to offer our thoughts and prayers to his family and friends. Although the official cause of death has yet to be determined, it is believed alcohol played a role in Brian’s death. Even the suspicion of alcohol warrants a strong reminder of how dangerous it can be for those of legal age and younger. This tragedy reinforces our commitment to be vigilant, to stress to our students through a variety of educational programs the dangers of alcohol and the serious results of binge drinking.
Despite these warnings, we still have too many students engaging in binge drinking which is often a behavior begun in high school. In the wake of this tragedy, I urge students and parents to take notice once again of how dangerous alcohol use can be. Parents, please take time to speak with your son or daughter about the importance of making responsible and safe decisions. We understand the college experience is a time for young adults to grow into young leaders, something we relish in doing here at Bloomsburg.
Although it seems many young people view alcohol consumption as a right of passage, BU does not condone or permit the use of alcohol on campus or at university-affiliated, off-campus housing. And we certainly do not condone underage drinking. Our alcohol awareness programs begin with our incoming freshmen orientation programs, and an active campus group, DAWN (Drug Alcohol Awareness Network), offers an open door to students who need help or simply have a question to be answered.
But regardless of the cause, we have lost a member of our community much too soon. Our counseling staff stands by to assist students and staff during this time of loss.