A sobering beginning
Happy New Year on behalf of the entire Choose Responsibility team. I hope your holidays were as meaningful and restful as mine. A new year means a clean slate for many things–workout regimens, healthier eating–but unfortunately the facts surrounding America’s drinking culture are not wiped clean.
A recent Forbes article by David Skorton (Cornell University President) and Glenn Altschuler (Cornell University Dean) paints a vivid picture of high-risk college drinking and comments on the consequences of students teaching each other to drink. In questioning whether students arrive at college as heavy drinkers or become heavy drinkers once they matriculate, the authors concede,
…college life may cause individual students to dial up the amount and frequency with which they drink. “A Call to Action: Changing the culture of drinking at U.S. colleges,” a report by the NIAAA-supported Task Force on College Drinking, presents evidence of higher alcohol use among undergraduates than peers who do not attend college and attributes it to a perception of alcohol as central to college life. Arriving on campus anxious to establish their place in a new setting, first-year students learn from upperclass men and women “that alcohol is a necessary ingredient for social success. These beliefs and the expectations they engender exert a powerful influence over students’ behavior toward alcohol.
Unwiling to conclude without a call to action, Skorten and Altschuler concede ask parents to have a candid conversation with their children about their drinking, their children’s drinking, and their children’s peers. Many parents are unaware of the way college drinking has changed since their own undergraduate years, and they might be surprised by what their students have to say.