Do college settings encourage drinking? Probably, students say

For many, the college setting encourages education through its academic resources and provides for social connectedness with career seekers alike — but for some, it can act as a motivator for alcohol consumption.

“I think students have more freedom [at college] than at home, depending on how they use their time,” said Kristy McGiffert, Health Educator at UWS, as she weighed the effects college settings can have on students’ potential desire to consume alcohol.

Eight UWS students were asked recently whether they thought college settings encourage student alcohol consumption. Their thoughts were similar in many ways, as they all determined college settings to encourage student alcohol consumption to some extent.

“It encourages it more than it goes against,” said student Zach Brunner, who noted the sale of alcohol at Jacket Java as “encouraging it somewhat.”

“When you’re at college, you want to fit in—you’re up for some things you wouldn’t normally do,” another student explained.

Ashley Webster, also a student, explained her impression that substance-free campuses have “even more prominent” student use of alcohol than other campuses. – “[To] be rebels,” she referred to as one possible explanation.

Recently there was an alcohol-awareness effort put on at UWS by the Student Health and Counseling Services, where students and anyone else had the chance to talk with those involved with the SHCS and view the alcohol-related information displayed at their tables.

“They like the promotion we do,” said McGiffert, who’s involved with the SHCS. “A lot of times they take the info,” then explain their intentions involving it, such as putting it up on the fridge, she explained.

The decision to drink alcohol can be a difference maker for whether students receive passing or failing grades. According to a flier displayed at one of SHCS’s tables, “A” students consume an average of between zero and 4.21 drinks per week, while “D” and “F” students average 9.97 drinks per week.

“We have to think of creative ways to get students’ attention,” explained McGiffert. “Students are impacted in different ways—[we try to] have an impact on them.”

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