An Unofficial St. Patty’s Day

Written by Tonja Bagwell


Officially, St. Patrick’s Day is ten days from today on March 17, 2017. Unofficially, there were celebrations on Friday, March 3, 2017. This was known as “Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day” in Champaign, Illinois. The official holiday occurs during Spring Break for most college students. This means that college town businesses (specifically, bars) see a decline in sales during Spring Break.

Anyone in the bar industry knows that college students spend lots of money on alcohol. They purchase beer kegs and liquor for frat parties, gatherings, personal consumption, or for other campus parties and events from liquor stores. They also go out and buy drinks at local bars or pubs. It was quite disturbing to learn the results of a 2016 College Students and Personal Finance Survey.  At least 25 percent of the surveyed students revealed alcohol and drugs is one of their monthly expenses.

The profits-driven appetite of college town bars helped a few bar owners come up with a plan to capitalize on students alcohol funds before they left for Spring Break. This plan allowed owners of campus area bars to fill their registers before St. Patrick’s Day.  Read about the history of the Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day party or Shamrock Stagger.

Rather than think about the problematic drinking, illnesses, DUIs, and deaths that occur when college students consume too much alcohol, bar owners think about the revenues they take in from alcohol-consuming college students. I will not focus on the offense of underage drinking that is rampant among college students.  Instead, I will share a very sad reality of a 2017 Unofficial St. Patty’s Day celebration.

One student will never enjoy Spring Break and his family will never attend his graduation. The 23-year-old University of Illinois student fell from a campus apartment balcony.  His family used a gofundme account to pay for his unexpected funeral expenses.  Fortunately, they surpassed their goal in two days.  Covering his funeral expenses does not take away the gut-wrenching heartache they must be experiencing.

Losing loved ones is devastating.  It can be even more difficult when it happens to a healthy college student with an optimistic future.  It was reported that the young man was consuming alcohol, but there were no reports of how much alcohol was in his system. Accidents can happen to sober, buzzed or intoxicated individuals.  Alcohol increases a person’s risk of injury and accidents.  Please remember that one drink can distort your judgment, especially if you have a low tolerance for alcohol.  Memorize or jot down five of my alcohol-related tips that could save you from harmful consequences.

  1. Drink alcohol responsibly: always know what you are drinking and how much you are drinking.
  2. Be aware of your environment and avoid balcony and rooftop drinking events.
  3. Know and trust the people who are drinking with you.
  4. Do not give in to peer pressure to drink more than you can handle.
  5. Never, never, never drink and drive!


  1. Do you think alcohol is to blame for the student’s death?
  2. Do you think Unofficial St. Patrick’s Day celebrations should discontinue?
  3. Do you think it is shocking that college students have a monthly alcohol and drugs expense?

I’m interested in reading your answers to the Questions & Thoughts to Ponder. Please leave comments about this article and other articles posted on Bagwell’s Book Blog. Don’t forget to subscribe and/or follow me and to click Like.

Copyright ©️ 2016 by Tonja Bagwell. All Rights Reserved.

3 thoughts on “An Unofficial St. Patty’s Day

  1. Those are great tips but sometimes it’s hard to tell who is friend or foe or predict how someone else will behave under the influence.

    1. Yes.
    2. No.
    3. No.

    Liked by 1 person

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