Borgs Are Taking Over The College Drinking Scene

While some studying gets done on occasion, college has long been synonymous with frat parties, keggers, and downright unruly behavior — thanks, "American Pie." For many college students, it's the first time in their young lives that they experience freedom outside of the confines of their parents' house. No curfew, no chores, and, most importantly, no more hiding liquor bottles in your backpack as you make your way out of the living room for a "sleepover."

Students today, however, aren't just keeping it old school with keg stands and Franzia wine bags. Nowadays, it's all about "borgs." A borg, which is a handy acronym for "blackout rage gallon," is a gallon-size water jug that's meant for one person to drink and is filled with liquor, water, and flavorings, sometimes containing caffeine and/or electrolytes. 

At first glance, drinking borgs may sound unwise and dangerous, like yet another problem contributing to excessive drinking on college campuses. According to a survey by Alcohol Rehab Guide, an estimated two-thirds of college students who drink alcohol also binge drink, which is "when a person consumes an excessive amount of alcohol in a short timeframe." This kind of excessive drinking can lead to liver complications, addiction, and other health and safety issues — concerns that all people, young and old alike, would prefer to avoid. While some people might consider borgs to be the epitome of dangerous binge drinking, others have a different perspective.

If you or anyone you know needs help with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).

Borgs are associated with something called harm reduction

Harm reduction is a technique designed to reduce the consequences of alcohol consumption and other behaviors, as substance use prevention expert Erin Monroe told NBC. Many drinkers may recognize the risks associated with alcohol but want to consume it anyway, which is where harm reduction can come into play. Certain preventative safety measures taken while drinking may be meant to lower the risk of overdose or, for others, simply decrease the likelihood of waking up with a nasty hangover. Borgs, Monroe says, can actually be an exercise in harm reduction if you make them right.

In a TikTok, Monroe suggested that borg drinkers fill their jug with only as much liquor as they could consume in one outing without becoming overly impaired (for her, up to five drinks in an eight-hour period). This technique gives people more agency over their level of intoxication, as it's meant to be the only alcoholic beverage they're drinking that day. The rest of the jug is water, which can help keep you hydrated and focused on having fun rather than tracking down your next margarita. Finally, Monroe encourages party-goers to add additional preventatives to their borgs, like Liquid I.V. or other hydrating beverages that can help replenish the body's electrolytes and vitamins after drinking. You can't get that from a keg, can you? Maybe these college students are onto something after all!