Archive for March, 2010

GW Hatchet Columnist: “Confessions of a Binge Drinker”

Monday, March 8th, 2010

Following up on last week’s article in Advertising Age about anti-binge drinking advertisements that backfire with their intended audiences, GW Hatchet columnist Evan Schwartz sketched out his alternative vision of a responsible drinking campaign. He wrote that many anti-binge drinking advertisements fail to focus on the root of the problem, and are therefore ineffective:

“If anyone wants to effectively combat the problem of binge drinking, humiliation is not the way to go…Saying that underage drinking is illegal and binge drinking is dangerous does not make the problem go away, in the same way that humiliating someone who is binge drinking will not make that person stop.

Simply telling people who have a hangover that they should be ashamed of themselves is not effective; treating the source of the problem is. How many partying college kids even know that what they’re doing is considered ‘binge drinking?’ Setting a realistic threshold, and making sure people are aware of what they are doing, may help kids keep their drinking totals down. Letting kids know that drinking to solve other problems is not appropriate or effective is better than shaming them into changing.”

Which types of these advertisements do you think are the most effective? Let us know in the comments.

[CR] Week in Review

Friday, March 5th, 2010

We need your votes! Our idea on Change.org got off to a strong start after qualifying for the final round of voting on Monday, but we’ll need to collect several hundred more to crack the Top 10 and join the winning group. We’re facing some stiff competition and we need every vote we can get, so if you haven’t voted yet, please do so now to show your support for [CR]. Once your ballot is submitted, tell your friends to vote, and then check out these headlines:

Stories this week…

On Monday, The Partnership for a Drug-Free America released some discouraging new statistics: between 2008 and 2009, rates of past-month alcohol use among high school students increased by 11%. “I’m a little worried that we may be seeing the leading edge of a trend here,” said Sean Clarkin, the organization’s Director of Strategy.

In the past few months, we’ve received several reports of increasing alcohol-related hospitalizations on college campuses. We can now add Harvard to the list, thanks to a story in Monday’s edition of The Crimson. According to predictions by Harvard’s Office of Alcohol and Other Drug Services, the number of students seeking treatment will reach 200 by the end of the term, “a 43 percent increase in the past two years, marking an upward trend after a period of stabilization from 2005 to 2008.”

The Iowa City Council is considering a new ordinance that would make 21 the legal age of entry into local bars. According to the Iowa City Press-Citizen, The University of Iowa supports the proposed change, but the editors of the Daily Iowan aren’t convinced. They wrote, “Raising the age of bar patrons wouldn’t address the root problem with downtown Iowa City: overconsumption, a factor not entirely congruent with age.” What do you think is the proper solution?

In other news:

A new study that will be published in the Journal of Marketing Research found that in some cases, anti-binge drinking public service advertisements which use guilt and shame to affect viewers may backfire and actually increase binge drinking. Check out Advertising Age for more details.

The editors of The Spectator at Seattle University endorsed a recent medical amnesty proposal put forth by their student government. They wrote that this new policy could be a small part of a much larger solution to the problem of toxic drinking:

“While there can be plenty of arguments made both for and against the Good Samaritan policy, it is important to recognize the overlying problem: an abundance of not only underage drinking, but drinking to the point of dangerous intoxication on college campuses. The Good Samaritan policy is not the end-all solution to this prevailing problem; rather it is only a step in the right direction toward decreasing this dangerous behavior.”

What do you think of this proposed change?

New York Times “Motherlode” blogger Lisa Belkin picked up the recent Washington Post story on parental notification policies at colleges and asked her readers to weigh in on the issue. Check out her post and leave some feedback.

Remember: cast your vote on Change.org if you haven’t done so already, and leave us a tip in the comments if we missed something in this week’s update.

Record-High Arrests at PSU “State Patty’s Day” Weekend

Thursday, March 4th, 2010

Late last week, Genaro Armas of the Associated Press introduced his readers to a recent tradition at Penn State University: “State Patty’s Day,” an unofficial holiday which takes place before St. Patrick’s Day. After its creation in 2007, the event quickly became infamous for heavy drinking, and this year, University administrators and local officials tried to encourage more responsible behavior: “Police, businesses and student leaders are trying to crack down this year on the event they say is just an excuse for a day of excessive drinking and destructive behavior.”

This week, we learned via the US News “Paper Trail” blog and the Daily Collegian that these pleas went largely unheeded, and the weekend saw a record number of arrests:

“The Daily Collegian reports that 160 partyers were arrested this past weekend. That’s more arrests than were made during the previous two State Patty’s Day weekends combined. Must have been a big weekend in State College.

‘The trend seems to be going the wrong way,’ State College Police Capt. Dana Leonard tells the Daily Collegian. ‘Everything is upward trending in the past three years–calls are up, alcohol overdoses are double. It’s a disturbing three-year trend.'”

Do students on your campus host similar unofficial holiday events that are characterized by heavy drinking? Let us know in the comments.

WUSTL Student Life: Are We The Blackout Generation?

Monday, March 1st, 2010

Amanda Jacobowitz, a columnist with Student Life at Washington University in St. Louis, asked her peers a direct question in her latest column: “Are we the blackout generation?” She argued that her peers have become desensitized to the dangers of toxic drinking and indifferent to the consequences:

“The excessive nature of college drinking is normalized into our culture and has turned into something we don’t even question anymore. When we guzzle down drink after drink, we are inducing memory loss and we are putting ourselves, our health, our relationships, even our lives at risk! Yet, every weekend, we start again, just waiting to see who blacks out next—immune to the consequences.”

Does her account match up with your experience on your campus or in your community? Let us know in the comments.