The State News - January 24, 2023

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CULTURE What it’s like to be sober at MSU

As daunting as it may seem to picture a college experience without alcohol, it is much more common than students seem to think.

CITY

How to escape stress with

in East Lansing

The

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escape rooms
East Lansing area offers three escape room attractions for students to enjoy as the spring semester picks up and homework loads get heavier. PAGE 5
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What it’s like to be sober at MSU

It goes something like this: Margarita Monday, Tequila Tuesday, Wine Wednesday, Thirsty Thursday, Friday, Saturday and then repeat.

That is six days of drinking, or at least an opportunity to – one that a number of students choose to take up week after week. Alcohol is deeply rooted in the college culture, especially at Michigan State University, one of the country’s most notorious party schools. But what does a college student do if they don’t drink? And why would a college student not be drinking?

Recovery Community, or CRC, knows this all too well. The program aids and supports students in recovery from substance abuse disorder.

“We’ll go out with friends, maybe to a bar, and someone will say, ‘Do you want to drink?’”

Binkowski said. “And you say no, and they say ‘Why?’, and it’s just not necessary to ask that question.”

Beyond a posed personal danger, the effects of alcohol consumption on the body often go undiscussed. Alcohol, in any amount, is classified as a class 1 human carcinogen, according to a report by the National Toxicology Program at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The Center for Disease Control has also reported troubling studies, with heavy drinking linked to an increase in blood pressure, weakening of the immune system and liver damage. For reference, heavy drinking is constituted by four or more drinks; a drink is roughly equal to a 1.5 ounce shot, or 12 ounces of beer.

Despite evidence of real-life harm, the perception is that virtually every college student is indulging in alcohol consumption. A large part of it likely has to do with a sort of cultural stigma surrounding sobriety.

“It’s like ‘Oh, that’s what you’re supposed to do in college. You’re supposed to go and get drunk on the weekends,’” Binkowski said.

coordinator Dawn Kepler said. “National research has actually shown that students in recovery are marginalized and underserved on college campuses,” Kepler said. “This is a population of students that are in an environment that can be really challenging to their success.”

fighting this feeling.

“One of the biggest risk factors we see with our students when they’re experiencing challenges is isolation,” Kepler said.

“Connection is one of the biggest parts of recovery as a college student.”

A student might choose not to drink for a multitude of reasons: A history of substance abuse disorder, genetic predisposition, or simply not enjoying it. Whatever the reason, the bottom line is that being sober doesn’t always come with the same level of acceptance that attending Thirsty Thursday does.

Sociology senior Kira Binkowski, who is a student coordinator of MSU’s Collegiate

“You see drinking because those are the people that are out and going to the bars ... but you don’t see the people who are inside or hanging out or playing a board game in their basement ... You just don’t see those people.”

It becomes extremely important, Binkowski said, to recognize that a so-called “party school” does not mean exclusively a party school. There are hundreds of niches students find fulfillment in, and only a fraction of them involve drinking and going out.

Currently, a number of students are in the midst of Dry January, a month of abstaining from alcohol. The brief taste of sobriety can be a startling reminder of how a sober lifestyle differs from an established norm, CRC

A break from alcohol can prompt many different responses. Some may find it challenging, where others find it refreshing and beneficial. Still others will find it a nuisance. Regardless, Dry January can urge students to be critical of their drinking habits and force them to be mindful of how crucial drinking is to their college experience.

For sober students, peer pressure is something that’s capable of making someone break their sobriety.

Psychology sophomore Olivia Feldman said she hasn’t faced too much peer pressure, except from those who aren’t aware of her sobriety.

“I think that when I’m with people that aren’t aware of my sobriety, yes. But (telling people) comes from a place of confidence in my recovery, and it’s a skill that you kind of work towards,” Feldman said.

“Being sober can also seem isolating,” Kepler said. Communities like the CRC can assist in

Students in recovery or even considering recovery can find a community in the CRC to aid and support their journey.

“I found the CRC and my recovery has never been stronger,” Binkowski said.

As daunting as it may seem to picture a college experience without alcohol, it is, in reality, much more common than students seem to think.

Kepler said the CRC’s recent data showed that 68% of MSU students reported consuming alcohol in the last 30 days.

“So if you flip that, that’s over 30% of students who haven’t drank in the last month,” Kepler said. “Almost one in three students. That’s a solid group.”

There are a number of resources available on campus to aid students in their recovery. The CRC hosts weekly events open to anyone and also provides housing for those in recovery. The Alcohol and Other Drug program offers educational sessions for students concerned about their alcohol or drug consumption.

CULTURE TUESDAY, JANUARY 24, 2023 THE STATE NEWS 4
2020 MSU NCHA Survey
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From 2020 MSU NCHA Survey Graphics
Undergraduate students reported having an average of drinks the last time they “partied” 3.64
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Red plastic cups set up for a game at the Tin Can in East Lansing. Taken on Jan. 17. Photo by Henry Szymecko
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How to escape stress with escape rooms in East Lansing

Escapology’s website.

“The Magnificent 7” gamer personalities are also listed on Escapology’s website to allow players to reflect on their puzzler-personality. It’s recommended that a group of eight players solve a room together and each puzzle has a time limit of 60 minutes.

“We host a lot of events and fundraisers for the college and the fraternities and sororities,” Escapology owner Mike McColeman said.

Women bowl free on Tuesdays and all attractions are 50% off on Wednesdays. Escapology is located at 3101 E. Grand River Ave. in Lansing and is open Monday through Saturday from 1 to 10:30 p.m. and Sunday from 3 to 11 p.m.

CHALLENGES EAST LANSING ADVENTURE

Lansing, Challenges East Lansing Adventure is open Monday through Thursday from 5 to 9 p.m., Friday from 5 p.m. to midnight, Saturday from noon to midnight and Sunday from 1 to 8 p.m.

BREAKOUT ESCAPE ROOMS

With its priority of three major elements of an escape room experience – immersive theme, challenge and fun – Breakout Escape Rooms provides its guests with a variety of unique escape game options and free photoshoots.

“One of the biggest things we pride ourselves on is being super beginner-friendly and family-friendly, but also still being very, very challenging for those who have done escape rooms before,” game master Krys Kenny said.

Escape rooms are the perfect combination of three stress relievers: spending time with friends, participating in fun activities and solving puzzles. As such, going to an escape room with a group can help refresh the brain and calm the mind.

The East Lansing area offers three escape room attractions for students to enjoy as the spring semester picks up and homework loads get heavier.

ESCAPOLOGY

One of the fastest-growing escape game franchises in the United States, Escapology, offers more than just escape rooms. Its Lansing location opened in 2019 and includes volleyball courts, private and traditional bowling alleys, ax-throwing, an arcade and bumper cars. Its escape rooms have a wide range of themes including murder mystery, science and military. The four rooms – Under Pressure, Budapest Express, Antidote and Cuban Crisis – each have detailed descriptions and video trailers on

Featuring five escape rooms – Pharaoh’s Revenge, The Haunt, The Naughty List, Tin Star Saloon and Special Agent Cold War – Challenges East Lansing Adventure also offers mobile escape games that can be played in-person or rented and played elsewhere. The mobile rooms include The Christmas Heist, a 35-minute game with a limit of two to four players, and The Pirate’s Code, a 65-minute game allowing two to six players.

In-person games recommend around two to 10 people per room depending on the game, and puzzles are 60 minutes long.

Two new escape rooms, Villains and Heroes, will be available later this year. Both will give players the opportunity to host larger parties and compete against each other by breaking into the opposite room.

Located at 3044 E. Lake Lansing Rd. in East

Rooms are organized based on difficulty and the amount of time given to solve a puzzle and the recommended group size depends on which room is chosen. There are six escape rooms to choose from: Zombie Roadhouse, two versions of Heart of a Pirate, Chamber of Illusions and two versions of Ringmaster’s Den.

The escape rooms demonstrate a variety of themes and can be played in a number of ways. For example, guests can request two identical rooms to play for competition. Some rooms can be played in a head-to-head competition style as well. Additionally, the escape room puzzles can be linear, multi-linear or nonlinear.

“All of our game masters are in costume when you come to play your games,” Kenny said. “It’s really cool, very immersive.”

Breakout Escape Rooms is open from 10 a.m. to 11:45 p.m., seven days a week and is located at 2722 East Michigan Ave. in Lansing.

5 STATENEWS.COM TUESDAY, JANUARY 24, 2023 CITY
Escapology, located off of E Grand River, is home to various escape rooms and bowling, arcade and axe throwing. Photo by Zari Dixson

CAPS receives an influx of MSU students amid ‘holiday aftermath’

As the spring semester begins, students are adjusting to the life changes and course stress of being on campus again. Unfortunately, countless factors bring distress to students during this time of year.

Counseling and Psychiatric Services, or CAPS, strives to provide students with mental health services to optimize their physical and mental well-being in light of the challenges this semester can bring. The center can be found on Michigan State University’s campus on the third floor of the Olin Health Center.

Licensed psychologist and CAPS Director

Mark Patishnock said students tend to feel overwhelmed this time of year, reporting significant levels of stress, anxiety, depression and isolation. These responses were compounded by the years of the pandemic and the responsibilities students had, along with the tragedies and losses many students endured.

“There’s winter break holiday aftermath,” Patishnock said. “Some students tend to have additional stressful times because they’re going to spend time with family members who they maybe haven’t seen in a while ... they might not be quite the same person they were the last they have seen their family. There’s usually a difference in views, politics, religion or cultural backgrounds.”

Patishnock said January, February and March are months with an increased risk for suicide.

With an influx of students, challenges arise for CAPS. The office handles these challenges by prioritizing specific services. First up: Crisis services.

Along with short-term exchanges, CAPS provides 24/7 crisis resources like virtual crisis counseling. To access, students call (517) 3558270 and press “1.” There is also an alternative crisis line for sexual assault, at (517) 372-6666.

After crisis service, initial access is the next priority for CAPS staff. Students can visit the CAPS website for an initial consultation with a counselor.

Free relationship counseling is also offered for two or more people to attain insight into each other and discover beneficial methods of communication.

CAPS also holds a diverse staff, letting students select preferences for the race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation and religion of their counselor to allow maximum comfort.

CAPS Connect is a quick and free resource for all students to have brief conversations with a CAPS provider. Journalism sophomore Emma George-Griffin said her utilization of CAPS Connect was beneficial and provided guidance and resources MSU and the greater Lansing community provides.

“It was a little nerve-racking to go into a 15-minute consultation, because it’s hard to be vulnerable with someone you don’t know,” George-Griffin said. “But everyone there is kind, understanding and non-judgmental about whatever you’re going through.”

CAPS also provides students with resources to connect with off-campus therapeutic or psychiatric care in their area.

“It was very helpful to get the services from CAPS and resources that I wouldn’t have gotten if I hadn’t gone to the counseling session,” George-Griffin said.

MSU Health and Wellbeing marketing and communications manager Elizabeth Carr encourages students to reach out for support when needed.

“We really front-load our counseling staff, their resources and time into those services because we want to be available the moment a student asks for help,” Patishnock said.

With limited schedule time, CAPS has difficulty balancing the assistance for a large number of students. Since its opening in 2018, CAPS has experienced a 60% to 70% increase in students who’ve reached out for help. At any given time, 30% to 40% of all students that ask CAPS for help reported having suicidal thoughts in the last two weeks.

“Making that call is always a big step, and sometimes it can feel a little scary, but it is something we are so proud to see if you can make that jump,” Carr said. “My personal philosophy is that our minds are a part of our bodies and we have to take care of them.”

CAMPUS TUESDAY, JANUARY 24, 2023 THE STATE NEWS 6
Art by Aryanna Dorsey
“It was a little nerve-racking to go into a 15-minute consultation, because it’s hard to be vulnerable with someone you don’t know. But everyone there is kind, understanding and non-judgmental about whatever you’re going through.”
CALL MSU’S COUNSELING AND PSYCHIATRIC SERVICES (CAPS) AT (517) 355-8270 TO SPEAK WITH A CRISIS COUNSELOR

Students share the best comfort food in East Lansing

the staple in East Lansing.”

Finance senior Matthew Kloc said his favorite comfort food is from Pizza House.

Comfort food, dishes that are normally both high in calories and carbohydrates, can be a way to maintain a more positive mindset when the days start to get gloomy.

Although many people have a different idea of what comfort food specifically means to them, there’s a general understanding that it’s a type of food that makes you “feel better.”

“(Comfort food is) a food you can have and it just sort of makes you feel like you have no other worries,” finance sophomore Aadyn Bauroth said.

Stress is common amongst college students. When gearing up for the new semester in the middle of

winter, the idea of having an easy pick-me-up is critical for students.

“When it’s cold and rainy outside because then it’s like, ‘Oh, you just want to, like, be

home – might as well, like, have some food that tastes good,” human development and family studies sophomore Marylin Kowalewski said.

In East Lansing, a college

town, each resident has their personal favorite spot. Bauroth enjoys Barrio. “It’s just a very ‘campus’ experience,” Bauroth said. “I’d say that one is probably like

“Their milkshakes are so good,” Kloc said. “I know, it’s not right downtown ... but that one is a really solid option.”

Human biology freshman Emma Fritz opts for Jimmy Johns.

“Just because it’s, like, close walking distance from where I live in Brody. Like, fast and easy,” Fritz said.

While East Lansing has many options that fill the need for comfort food, the university dining halls and Sparty’s locations also give students what they need to get through the gray days that fill second semester.

“I really like to get a combo; they sometimes have those edible cookie dough things,” Fritz said. “I really like that.”

Some students, such as Bauroth, opt for comfort food that reminds them of home –even if they have to cook it themselves.

“I come from a house that likes to cook a lot and mostly Italian and there’s no really good Italian places around here,” Bauroth said.

“And usually that comfort meal is just making some pasta or something. So, I have had to adapt to that a little bit ... It’s still good. I’m still getting food that I find comforting.”

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*PHOTOS ARE PROPERTY OF THE STATE NEWS
Barrio on Monday, Jan. 23, 2023. Photo by Chloe Trofatter
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