College students embrace DIY drinking with ‘Borgs’ amid pandemic

Students using gallon jugs to pace drinking

Several harm reduction advocates pointed out that drinking from borgs may actually mitigate the dangers of college drinking culture. (Getty Images)

Binge drinking is no stranger to college culture, and recently Borgs, also known as the “blackout rage gallons,” have been going viral on TikTok.

The recipe of Borgs are made with half water, half vodka (or any liquor really), a caffeinated flavor enhancer and a dash of powdered electrolytes.

NBC News reported that this drinking trend surfaced on the internet in 2020 during the pandemic. A TikToker who pops up on my feed frequently is Erin Monroe, who posted a video that this method of drinking is “harm-reducing” as it allows drinkers to avoid communal drinking. Bringing your own borg to a party reduces the chance for students to take a drink from strangers or diving into jungle juice made in an unsanitized cooler.

“First, you get to decide what goes in here,” Moore said in her video. “You get complete control over this. And that means even if you don’t want to put liquor in, you don’t have to. Second, this is a closed container. So as long as you’re keeping the lid on when you’re not actively consuming it, the risk of somebody putting something in here that you don’t know about is significantly decreased. And finally, it’s not communal.”

Click here to see borgs from students at the University of Michigan.

It is reported by NBC News that borgs allow drinkers to have “complete control” over what they’re drinking and can allow drinkers to pace themselves.

Borgs are typically made with water or milk gallon jugs. They are similar to the jugs many Michigan college students would decorate for Hayride. Students across TikTok have shown the different recipes they enjoy as well as how they like to decorate their jug of the night.

When searching TikTok, borgs have hit major university campuses, including Michigan State University. Click here to see a “Borgingham Palace” from a Michigan State student.

According to Alcohol Rehab Guide, roughly 20% of college students meet the criteria of having an alcohol use disorder. Close to 2,000 students between the ages of 18 to 24 die from unintentional, alcohol-related injuries annually. American Addiction Centers reported that out of those who drink, college-aged students are the ones who are most likely to binge drink.

Below are the symptoms of an alcohol overdose according to NIAAA:

  • Mental confusion, stupor
  • Difficulty remaining conscious or inability to wake up
  • Vomiting
  • Seizures
  • Slow breathing (fewer than eight breaths per minute)
  • Irregular breathing (10 seconds or more between breaths)
  • Slow heart rate
  • Clammy skin
  • Dulled responses, such as no gag reflex (which prevents choking)
  • Extremely low body temperature, bluish skin color, or paleness