Archive for the 'college drinking' Category

Mixed messages?

Tuesday, August 28th, 2012

The University of Iowa holds a licensing agreement with Anheuser-Busch that allows the beverage company to use the University’s logo in its advertising so long as the ads include a message about drinking responsibly. The sponsorship will contribute  $114M to UI’s athletic department by 2026 and will provide $43K for the school’s alcohol harm reduction program this year.

The recently-renewed contract has been met with opposition by those who feel that UI being sponsored by an alcoholic beverage company sends a mixed message to students. Students interviewed for the story by The Daily Iowan conceded that they are confused by the school’s stance on alcohol. Freshman Mitchell Coleman said,

…sometimes [I] think that the UI is completely against all drinking but then other times [I] gets the message that if students do choose to drink they should have it under control.

Others are less confused and argue that receiving funding from Anheuser-Busch is a poor decision. Jeffery Cox, a professor and member of the UI’s Presidential Committee on Athletics claims,

This beer sponsorship decision undermines our ability to defend the integrity of the athletics program to the public and diverts attention from the good things about college athletics…

While time will tell what the total effect will be on student drinking, the University choose to take a proactive stance by surveying students for their actual perceptions. The survey will be used as baseline data and compared to future surveys to determine the effect of alcohol sponsorships on campus binge drinking.

Readers, what do you think? Students, have you been surveyed for something like this before?

Drinking to fit in?

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

A recent study published by the American Sociology Association (ASA) claims that college students who binge drink feel more socially accepted. 1,600 students at a Northeastern liberal arts college were surveyed for the study. In particular, findings indicated that students who feel marginalized on their campus achieve greater social satisfaction from drinking,

Many students responding to the survey reported they did not want to binge drink but felt in necessary to fit in on campus. Minority and LGBT students felt less welcome on campuses with a white, heterosexual culture, and reported they had a better social experience in college when they participated in binge drinking.

This ASA study (click here for more information) indicates that the pervasiveness of binge drinking on college campuses forces students who might choose responsibility to reevaluate their positive decisions in favor of fitting in.

Drinking spikes in first weeks of class

Tuesday, August 21st, 2012

According to a recent study, colleges see a spike in dangerous drinking at the beginning of the school year. As freshman start their college careers and upperclassmen return to campus, nervousness, excitement, and [short lived] lighter workloads provide plenty of time for binge drinking. Freshmen particularly fall prey to this dangerous cocktail of emotions; they are anxious and excited about coming to campus, yet they have never experienced the level of freedom and the availaibilty of alcohol that a college campus presents. Having never been taught–or been able to be taught–how to drink responsibly results in unnecessary hospital visits.

The Orlando Sentinel reported on this beginning-of-year behavior and cited research by Michael Cleveland, researcher at Penn State’s Prevention Research Center. Apparently, irresponsible drinking occurs costs colleges thousands of dollars annually,

For each college with 40,000 or more students, emergency room visits for alcohol-related blackouts cost about $500,000 a year, according to an April report in Health Affairs, an international health policy journal.

The University of Central Florida is no exception to these costs, according to the Orlando Sentinel,

At UCF last year, 679 students were cited for alcohol violations, 49 were taken to the hospital for excessive drinking, and 29 were arrested for drinking and driving, according to university records. UCF has an enrollment of 59,000 students.

Inexperience and excitement, according to the article, plague colleges at the beginning of the school year and offer parents and administrators reason to worry.

College hopes to curtail binge drinking with liquor license

Friday, August 17th, 2012

Administrators at Illinois College in Jacksonville, IL recognize that many of their students regularly binge drink. And the concerned college administration hopes to teach their students how to drink responsibly, although their approach to curtailing binge drinking is far from ordinary.

The college has applied for a liquor license for an on campus pub where, if approved, of age students could order no more than two beers with a meal. Officials hope that providing students with a venue for safe and responsible drinking will discourage the dangerous, excessive behaviors prevalent on college campuses, even among students who are of age.

For more information on Illinois College’s efforts, click here.

Readers, what do you think?

CU Boulder to reconsider land use policies

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

The University of Colorado, Boulder is seeking to curtail campus binge drinking, which in which roughly 23% of the student body partakes, by reevaluating zoning near campus. Altering the density of establishments that serve alcohol could help reduce rates of binge drinking, officials say.

Donald Misch, assistant vice chancellor for health and wellness at CU, said, “The greatest threat your child faces in college is probably alcohol.” He and his staff seek to reduce this danger, and time will tell if their measures lead to effective changes.

Read the full story here, and let us know what you think, readers.

Daniel Webster

Friday, July 13th, 2012

Politician Daniel Webster once commented that, “liberty exists in proportion to wholesome restraint.” He was not talking about alcohol use, but his words could not be more appropriate, especially when considering college drinking and regulation. College campuses can be battle grounds with regards to alcohol. Alumni fondly recall the fun they had and students envy their stories while administrators work tirelessly to keep students safe and on task. Yet safety might not be such a battle if administrators, RAs, peer advisors, parents, and the like were able to communicate–honestly–about responsible consumption. Because when the conversation turns from restriction to liberty with wholesome restraint, the results may also turn.



The op-ed that started it all…

Monday, July 2nd, 2012

If you’re new to the Choose Responsibility blog, you may not have read former CR president John McCardell’s New York Times op-ed that led to the founding of Choose Responsibility. The entire article can be found here, but an excerpt on MLDA 21 is included below. If you’re new to the blog, please let us know your thoughts in the “comments” section.

To lawmakers: the 21-year-old drinking age is bad social policy and terrible law. It is astonishing that college students have thus far acquiesced in so egregious an abridgment of the age of majority. Unfortunately, this acquiescence has taken the form of binge drinking. Campuses have become, depending on the enthusiasm of local law enforcement, either arms of the law or havens from the law.

Neither state is desirable. State legislators, many of whom will admit the law is bad, are held hostage by the denial of federal highway funds if they reduce the drinking age. Our latter-day prohibitionists have driven drinking behind closed doors and underground. This is the hard lesson of prohibition that each generation must relearn. No college president will say that drinking has become less of a problem in the years since the age was raised. Would we expect a student who has been denied access to oil paint to graduate with an ability to paint a portrait in oil? Colleges should be given the chance to educate students, who in all other respects are adults, in the appropriate use of alcohol, within campus boundaries and out in the open.

And please – hold your fire about drunken driving. I am a charter member of Presidents Against Drunk Driving. This has nothing to do with drunken driving. If it did, we’d raise the driving age to 21. That would surely solve the problem.

Testimonial: Contrasts

Tuesday, June 12th, 2012

“…Contrast that to today. Drinking is at fraternities and off-campus. No university officials are around to help out. Much more drinking involves driving. Much more drinking is done hastily before going to campus events. Instead of learning to drink responsibly, kids today learn to drink quickly, secretly, and away from adult supervision…”

Colleges seek to curb spring break bingeing

Thursday, March 1st, 2012

Santa Fe College will host a safe spring break event before sending students off in March. The event seeks to discourage binge drinking through incentives for students. Check back after Santa Fe’s break for an update on the success of this endeavor. Read the full article here.

Cornell Student Reflects on Campus Drinking Culture

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

An op-ed from the Cornell Sun, Cornell’s student newspaper, reflects on the school’s social culture and on the importance of creating safe spaces where alcohol is consumed.

The article, mentioning the Amethyst Initiative, speaks specifically about binge drinking as a result of the restriction of alcohol at student social events.