The Gordie Foundation
|Founder||Mr. Michael Lanahan
Mrs. Leslie Lanahan
|Focus||Alcohol and Hazing Education|
|Origins||Following the 2004 hazing death of Lynn Gordon Bailey Jr. ("Gordie") at the University of Colorado Boulder|
|United States, Canada|
|Slogan||"Save a Life. Make the Call."|
The Gordie Foundation is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that was founded in Dallas, Texas. The Foundation's mission is "to provide today's young people with the skills to navigate the dangers of alcohol, binge drinking, peer pressure and hazing." The Gordie Foundation was created in memory of 18 year-old Gordie Bailey who died on September 17, 2004 following a hazing incident involving alcohol in the Chi Psi fraternity house at the University of Colorado campus in Boulder, Colorado. Actress Robin Wright is the Honorary Spokesperson for The Gordie Foundation.
In the summer of 2010, the Gordie Foundation and the University of Virginia Center for Alcohol and Substance Education merged to form the Gordie Center for Substance Abuse Prevention. All operations that were previously under the Gordie Foundation are currently maintained through the Gordie Center, now located in Charlottesville, Virginia.
On the evening of September 16, 2004, Lynn Gordon Bailey Jr. ("Gordie") and twenty-six other Chi Psi pledges dressed in coats and ties for "bid night" were taken blindfolded to the Arapaho Roosevelt National Forest where they were told to consume four 1.75 liter bottles of 80-proof Ten High Bourbon Whiskey and six 1.5 liter bottles of Carlo Rossi wine around a bonfire in 30 minutes. Older active fraternity men stated to the group that “no one is leaving here until these are gone.” When the group returned to the Fraternity Lodge, Gordie was visibly intoxicated and did not drink any more. He was placed on a couch to “sleep it off” at approximately 11:00pm. Later in the evening, while Gordie was unconscious, his brothers used permanent markers to scrawl demeaning sayings and pictures on all parts of his body. Gordie was left alone for 10 hours before he was found dead the next morning, face down on the floor.
Following Gordie's death, his mother Leslie Lanahan brought legal action against the Alpha Psi Delta chapter of Chi Psi, located in Boulder, Colorado. Following four and a half years of negotiation, the two sides agreed to a settlement in March 2009. Among the terms, Chi Psi agreed that Gordie had indeed been hazed by brothers of the chapter on the evening of September 16, 2004. The national fraternity also agreed to use Gordie's story in all pledge education about hazing, as well as to require that all chapters, or "Alphas", recruit a live-in adult supervisor. In accordance with a request by Chi Psi, details of the financial portion of the settlement cannot be disclosed.
Gordie was 18 years old when he died. One month earlier, he had enrolled as a freshman at the University of Colorado Leeds School of Business. In his four weeks at the University, Gordie had been named to the club lacrosse team and had become a pledge at Chi Psi Fraternity. Gordie went to Colorado after three years at Deerfield Academy in Deerfield, Massachusetts where he participated in athletics, music and drama. In his senior year he was co-captain of the varsity football team playing both middle linebacker and offensive guard. He also started at defense on the school’s New England championship lacrosse team.
While a senior, Gordie mentored younger students as a Proctor in an underclass dormitory. In his spare time, he and his fellow Proctors made humorous videos with their Proctees. Prior to attending Deerfield, Gordie attended St. Mark’s School of Texas in Dallas and The Lamplighter School, also in Dallas.
Alcohol-related incidents claim the lives of over 1700 students annually. The Gordie Foundation encourages you to "save a life" and "make the call" for help to prevent another senseless tragedy. "Friends Check Friends" - Never leave an intoxicated person alone to "sleep off" the effects of alcohol. The amount of alcohol it takes to pass out is dangerously close to the amount it takes to kill. Use the acronym PUBS to help you remember how to check your friends for the signs of alcohol poisoning: Puking (while passed out), Unresponsive (to pinching or stimuli), Breathing (irregular, slow or none at all), Skin (cold, blue or clammy). If someone is experiencing these symptoms, they may be suffering from an alcohol overdose and/or alcohol poisoning. If even one of these signs is present, call 911. If vital signs are slowing, do not wait – call 911 immediately! Remember: drinking is not a competition. Large amounts of alcohol in a short amount of time can be deadly.
Gordie's Call Campaign
Gordie's Call is a national campaign with a mission to prevent alcohol abuse and hazing through the use of peer intervention among young adults. The primary campaign initiative is to eliminate deaths from alcohol abuse and hazing, challenge attitudes about the true risks of these activities, and to promote healthy campus environments.
HAZE the documentary
The Gordie Foundation, with director Pete Schuermann, has produced both a full-length and a shortened, content edited documentary film entitled HAZE that explores the environment on today’s college campuses that leads to alcohol-related deaths like Gordie's. Highlighting many aspects of Gordie’s story, the film illuminates the heavily veiled and largely misunderstood realm of college binge and competitive drinking and hazing, and the continually mounting risks associated with such behavior. HAZE features graphic and disturbing scenes of the real-life consequences of alcohol abuse and acts of hazing perpetrated against young men and women by their peers. Psychologists, researchers, college student affairs personnel and students themselves offer valuable insights into the environment many college students and even high school students encounter during what are intended to be formative and enlightening years. What emerges is evidence of an unsettling trend toward recklessness and overindulgence which most students regard with ambivalence.
HAZE has been selected to be screened at several prestigious film festivals, including its premiere at the Hamptons International Film Festival. It has also been selected to be shown in 2009 at the Dallas International Film Festival. the Newport Beach Film Festival and the Indie Spirit Film Festival in Colorado Springs, Colorado. In 2011, it was shown at the Virginia Film Festival in Charlottesville, Virginia.
National GORDIEday is held annually in the fall, with the seventh-annual event scheduled to take place on September 25, 2014 in conjunction with National Hazing Prevention Week events center on spreading awareness about the dangers of binge and competitive drinking, the warning signs of alcohol poisoning, and the inherent risks involved with hazing. Events include handing out awareness materials, posting flyers, screening the documentary HAZE and hosting speakers.
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