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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

3 students hospitalized after Modfest

Published: October 28, 2005
Section: News

Three students who attended the semi-annual Modfest party Saturday night were hospitalized for symptoms of excessive alcohol consumption.

[The] three people were sent [to the hospital] at exactly the same time, said Elan Schefflein 06, a clinical supervisor and the director of the Brandeis Emergency Medical Corps, also known as BEMCo. Basically, there were three individuals who presented symptoms of excess consumption of alcohol. They were vomiting, and we had to page out three separate ambulances.

With the three calls happening simultaneously across the crowded Mods, three ambulances were necessary to help the students, causing American Medical Response to divert ambulances from Boston, almost declaring Brandeis what Schefflein described as the states largest mass casualty incident.

We had called so many ambulances at once, they thought it was bigger than it was, said Schefflein. [The amount of calls during] this Modfest was not necessarily more than weve had in years back [Still,] we felt like we were spread way too thin. There wasnt as much EMT coverage as we would have liked.

BEMCo was ever-vigilant during Modfest, with 4 trained emergency medical technicians stationed at the Mods to prevent injury and curtail any potential alcohol poisoning according to BEMCo Secondary Michael Brewer 07.

Its standard for BEMCo to be hired for such events like Modfest, Pachanga, Rugby games, [Student Events] concerts, and more. Weve had both uneventful Modfests and very busy nights in past years, so we prepare [for anything to happen.], said Brewer.
When the on-scene EMTs were in need of extra assistance, due to the high demand for medical attention, they requested that the Department of Public Safety page the regular on-duty crew down to the Mods. However, with the Mods thick with crowds, excitement, and alcohol, the combined efforts of BEMCo and the Department of Public Safety were unable to stop every incident, as Mike Martin 09 discovered.

I was chillin at Modfest, having a good time, [when] suddenly, some people started pushing themselves around, said Martin. Then one guy said to me, Hey, Mike! and then they just pointed at the fight. These two guys were really pushing each other;

they were just about to go at it. One of them was really on drugsreally messed upand they started pushing each other.

The incident passed without violence, I got in between them, pushed them apart, and then their friends went in between them, said Martin. They had to be talked down for a while after that.

The consensus from many, however, is that Modfest was not the staging ground for those who excessively drank, but the final destination of many who became intoxicated before the party. Indeed, circumventing Modfests stringent policy of giving alcohol to those 21 and over, many underage students pre-gamed, or drank before Modfest with the goal of lasting through the entire event intoxicated. This sort of atmosphere caused many instances of what Department of Public Safety Chief Ed Callahan described as behavioral concerns [and] negative interactions between the students.

Alcohol abuse is a big concern of mine its an individual concern that people have to be cognizant of their health, and the truth is that if you consume large amounts of alcohol youre going to get sick, said Callahan. He called upon Residence Life and health officials to help ensure that students conduct themselves in a manner just like they would during the day.

Despite these incidents, however, Callahan conceded that that event was not a new watermark in Modfest history. It was a large event, with 800 to 1000 at the height, he said. The majority of the people had a good time, they interacted with folks, and then they left It was well run, it seems like the students had fun it seems like it was a positive event.