Lehigh Valley

Flags promote education on Lehigh's drinking culture

BETHLEHEM, Pa. - The flags may have caught their curiosity, but the beverages reeled them in.

Lehigh University's student senate is trying to make a point.

The 42 red flags represent times when medical amnesty was used to help an underage student who needed medical attention after drinking last year.

"If I am drinking and my friend is drinking to excess to the point where I feel she needs to be sent to the hospital...if I call using medical amnesty, she can get sent to the hospital and I will be protected for being a good citizen," said Raegan Sullivan. "In the state of Pennsylvania if I call I am protected but my friend is not therefore she can face repercussions from the law."

The students say for that reason some people might have second thoughts about calling for help.

Last year 71 Lehigh students were hospitalized without medical amnesty.

They are represented by blue flags.

"Our student senate is also working in conjunction with Penn State University student senate to draft some wording that will eventually be sent two other schools in the state of Pennsylvania to try to petition the state government to change those laws," said Nicholas Thompson.

Lehigh University officials say they fully support the students' efforts to educate others.

The students say their message is twofold, saying medical amnesty can save lives and illustrating the perils of underage drinking on campus.

"We really ideally we would like the number of flags here today to be much lower than 113, but having more use of amnesty is definitely a good place to start," Thompson said.

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