March 17 was Saint Patrick’s Day, leaving Sackville victims to a weekend of green clothing, partying, and drinking. If you witnessed large groups of students walking from house to house, you may have also seen that many of them were holding white gallon jugs, filled with strangely coloured liquid and adorned with puns, scrawled in sharpie. A second-year student posted a public TikTok where they showed off various students’ BORG names, including “Best of BORG worlds,” “Save a horse, ride a cow-BORG,” “I like big BORGs and I cannot lie,” “Queen Eliza-BORG,” “BORGer King,” and “BORG me, I’m Irish.” If they serve no other purpose, BORGs do foster some excellent student creativity.
According to another second-year student, BORG stands for Black Out Rage Gallon: a definition that frankly terrifies me. I started seeing videos about BORGs on my TikTok a couple of weeks ago, and the popularity has only grown. Okay, but what are they? Recipes vary, but they all start with a gallon jug of water, which is half emptied to make room for about a pint of hard liquor, and some combination of drink flavouring drops, electrolyte powder, and energy drink. It makes a vodka RedBull look like child’s play.
A New York Times article by Madison Malone Kircher highlighted some benefits: the water and electrolyte content means less hangovers, you can’t taste the alcohol (questionable as to whether this one is a positive or negative), and, as they aren’t an open drink, they’re less likely to get spiked.
Unfortunately, it’s not all fun, games, and silly puns. A full gallon jug is about 16 servings of alcohol, and could be even more, depending on the recipe and if the alcohol is measured at all. Due to how large the containers are, students may not know how much alcohol they are consuming, and how they are spacing it out over the day. According to an article in CBS News, 46 students at the University of Massachusetts Amherst were hospitalized over a single weekend, “the first time the university has observed notable use of BORGs.”
At the end of the day, binge drinking is still binge drinking, no matter what “fun spin” we put on it. Although BORGs are definitely less harmful than Jungle Juice—large, communal tubs of a juice, pop, and alcohol concoction linked to fraternity life—they offer some of the same risks. By all means, use a covered container, like a water bottle. There’s also nothing stopping you from bringing a second bottle of water. To stay safe, however, measure out only a few servings of an alcoholic drink, so you can more easily keep track of how many drinks you’ve had. Have designated sober people in place, to be able to help in an emergency. Stay safe, BORG-ers!