College Park, Md. -- What started as a positive Twitter meme has taken hold of the University of Maryland campus in a terrible and unexpected way: since the start of the spring semester, six students have overdosed and died from excessive water consumption.
On Jan. 1st, University of Maryland junior Malcolm Davis woke up with a splitting hangover after spending the turn of the New Year at RJ Bentley’s. As he was hydrating, he came up with a “fire” tweet. He had no idea of the chaos that would follow.
“It was just a joke, I did not think it would catch heat like this,” Davis said. “I never wanted anybody to get hurt.”
Across various social media platforms including SnapChat, Instagram and Twitter, students started posting videos of high-volume water chugging. At first, the videos seemed reasonable enough-- kids were drinking up to a liter of water in one take.
However, some students wanted to take the trending “#DrinkMoreWaterChallenge” to the next level. A handful of them started chugging water several times a day, often consuming up to a gallon in one sitting.
And, soon enough, kids started experiencing addiction-like symptoms.
“People always say weed isn’t addicting, but I feel like so many people could testify otherwise,” said sophomore Robert Anderson. “It’s the same thing with water-- too much of anything is usually a bad thing. Except weed, probably.”
Anderson’s roommate and hometown friend, Billy Stone, became the most recent tragedy in the campus community.
“You know someone’s addicted when they wake up in the morning, and they’re just so parched -- jonesing for that first sip,” Anderson said. “In the weeks leading up to his passing he was always so damn thirsty.”
“It’s good that kids want to stay hydrated! I just wish they didn't have to take it to this extreme. Overhydrating can pose serious health concerns and should not be taken lightly,” said university counselor Andrea Myers. “It literally causes your cells to burst. Osmosis and shit, you know.”
A candlelight vigil will be held for the students who passed this Thursday evening at the Jim Henson statue in front of The Stamp Student Union. Friends and family of the lost loved ones have requested that attendants refrain from bringing beverages.