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In collaboration with the city of Bozeman, MSU has announced a new initiative to curb the amount of underage drinking among college students. According to a recent study, nearly 50 percent of students ages 18 - 20 reported drinking in the past week. “In Montana, underage drinking is a serious public health concern,” said Department of Human Healthy Services (DHHS) representative Anne McSeltzer. “Binge drinking is a huge problem, as the volume of alcohol being consumed can approach toxic levels.”

To combat the problem, the DHHS approached both MSU and the city of Bozeman with a proposal: to install a pipeline running from the Bozeman water distribution system to Pale Paw Hard Seltzer distribution headquarters in Chicago.

“We’re incredibly proud to announce our partnership with Pale Paw in our effort to reduce the prevalence of underage drinking on campus,” said MSU President Waldo Cruzaldo. “Despite our best efforts: police raids, punitive measures and gift card incentives, students continue to imbibe hard liquor at frankly impressive rates.” The average alcohol content of a bottle of vodka is roughly 40 percent by volume, while a Pale Paw contains only five percent. To consume the same amount of alcohol, students would have to drink eight times more Pale Paw than hard liquor —  a tall order when considering the fizzy nature of the hard seltzer.

Currently, many students pay upperclassmen to purchase alcohol for them. “We believe the lazy nature of millenials will lead them to favor the Pale Paw fountains over uncomfortable personal interaction with another human being,” said Cruzaldo. Rather than sneak around behind the backs of school authorities, students will now be able to enjoy their college experience in a controlled manner. “After all,” said freshman Zack Kegger, “no one has ever abused hard seltzer.” MSU is proud to lead the way for colleges around the nation seeking a solution to the issue of underage drinking, and hopes the Pale Paw initiative can demonstrate how a university can be responsible while providing the best facilities possible for its students. 

Even though the pipeline will cost more money than it will save by reducing the number of University Police calls, there are plenty of upsides to the new project. For one, the alcohol content of the seltzer would keep pipes clean without further decontamination, and the amount of stray cans around town would be visibly reduced.

Some community members did raise concerns that the pipeline could burst —  potentially contaminating local water supplies. McSeltzer was quick to point out that such an occurrence is unlikely to occur if proper precautions are taken. To allay fears, MSU will be recontracting the same company used in designing the newly completed Open Sky Fitness Center. Students can look forward to seeing Pale Paw stations around campus and the downtown area beginning in the fall of 2019.