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Kappa Sigma brings RAKnomination to campus

Jessica Klymchuk, News Editor Ω

Kappa Sigma member Will George pays for a student's parking on Feb. 26 for RAKnomination (random act of kindness) to counteract the dangerous online drinking game neknomination. Jessica Klymchuk/The Omega

Kappa Sigma member Will George pays for a student’s parking on Feb. 26 for RAKnomination (random act of kindness) to counteract the dangerous online drinking game neknomination. Jessica Klymchuk/The Omega

It varies from chugging a single beer to downing mickeys. Throw in some vodka, some gin and maybe a little red wine, or maybe swap your milk for tequila in your morning cereal. In extreme cases, the amounts are increased and a dangerous activity accompanies the sprint to the bottom of the glass or bucket. A recent case featured the nominee longboarding down the highway with a beer bong.

Or, on the other hand, maybe it’s donating blood, buying someone a coffee, paying for someone’s parking, holding the door open, donating to a local charity or delivering care packages to the less fortunate.

Neknomination is the latest Internet trend, but RAKnomination isn’t far behind.

The former involves uploading a video of yourself chugging alcohol and possibly participating in risky or bizarre behaviour and then nominating two people to do the same within twenty-four hours. Although the game started with individuals chugging a single beer, it evolved to feature harder liquors, increased amounts and more dangerous activities. Media reports say at least two deaths have been linked to the game.

But rather than accepting the drinking challenge, nominees have started a new one by partaking in random acts of kindness. The Facebook page and website for RAKnomination shows people from across Canada accepting the new challenge.

After noticing TRU’s statements condemning neknomination in the media, members of Kappa Sigma, TRU’s fraternity, decided to bring RAKnomination to Kamloops. On Feb. 26 they paid for 10 students’ parking for the day, bought five students lunch at the Terrace and held doors open for people.

Will George spoke to both residences on campus and to student groups to find out if neknominations were catching on and learned there had been some instances of the game. He said they used this opportunity to tell students about RAKnomination and to make a stand against participating in the alternative. Kappa Sigma has RAKnominated Enactus TRU and the Fusion Rotaract Club of Kamloops to follow up with random acts of kindness of their own.

The dangerous online drinking game neknomination hit B.C. in early February. TRU responded with a statement discouraging students from participating and reminding them that disciplinary action could be taken if the activities happened on campus. Jessica Klymchuk/The Omega

The dangerous online drinking game neknomination hit B.C. in early February. TRU responded with a statement discouraging students from participating and reminding them that disciplinary action could be taken if the activities happened on campus. Jessica Klymchuk/The Omega

Kappa Sigma president James Acton said they noticed high school-aged students participating in the game and saw a need to counteract its growing popularity.

“Our organization promotes leadership on campus and we don’t condone excessive drinking,” he said. “We wanted to do something that maybe curbs the trend and shows a more positive light and passes on something that will do good in the community from person to person instead of this excessive drinking trend.”

Originating in Australia, neknomination hit B.C. in early February.

University officials were quick to respond. Dean of students Christine Adam said she saw the game was trending in Europe and two days later noticed TRU students participating.

“To us, that was just a sign of how quickly it was growing,” she said.

Concerned about student safety, TRU released a statement on Feb. 3 warning students that participating on campus could lead to disciplinary action from residence housing or the university. Adam said the game is especially concerning because it has a competitive nature and is fueled by peer pressure.

“It was the fact that it included publicly tagging someone, that there was a one-upmanship to it and it involved drinking a lot quickly,” she said. “By the time it got here we were watching people do 11 shots of vodka. That really worried us because there is nothing safe about that.”

There have been no major problems related to the game at TRU and Adam said that it’s likely that would have been the case even if the university hadn’t released a statement. She said the National College Health Assessment demonstrated that students typically make very responsible decisions around drinking.