Binge drinking norm for college
Alcohol consumption classifies students’ social status
Published: Thursday, September 13, 2012
Updated: Thursday, September 13, 2012 21:09
A typical college experience is thought of as hanging out with friends and partying, with some homework on the side. For many college students, drinking is a main activity on their list and often do so excessively.
According to a survey done by Northeastern University, undergraduate students who binge drink at least once a week are happier with their social lives and overall college experience than those who don’t drink at all.
The study also showed a connection between social status and binge drinking.
Students with higher statuses, typically wealthy, white, heterosexual males, tend to drink more.
Some college practices that can lead to binge drinking include keg stands, funneling and shot-gunning beer.
For many students — especially those who lack Type A personality qualities — being outgoing, social and assertive, binge drinking is a way to fit in, Nicole Coyle of the sorority Delta Phi Epsilon at Plattsburgh State said.
“I feel like I can talk to people easier,” Coyle said.
According to the study researched by the Northeastern liberal arts college, “of those who are considered “lower status” students — less wealthy, female, non-white, homosexual, and/or non-Greek affiliated students — those who binge drink report levels of social satisfaction that are comparable to their high status counterparts.”
Many drinking-related reports are in regard to freshmen, due to their lack of experience and knowledge of their own limits, Addictions Counselor II at the Clinton County Mental Health and Addiction Services Sarah Marlow said.
“They tend to want to fit in or are away from their parents, so, for a lot of them, it’s experimenting with alcohol,” she said.
Though the study’s statistics have shown a more positive experience from both counterparts (low and high social status students), there can be serious repercussions.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism estimated 1,700 alcohol-related deaths involving college students occur every year.
“Several health issues can occur (from binge drinking),” said Jennifer Sanborn, coordinator for the Alcohol and Other Drugs service. “Alcohol travels to every organ in the body, which can cause stomach problems such as ulcers to (the) liver (and) kidney, (as well as) brain damage.”
More subtle symptoms can include memory loss, retaining information or staying focused Sanborn said.
PSUC has many issues with binge drinking regularly, Sanborn said. She also mentioned a tips training course, which involves teaching students intervention procedures. One of the procedures includes how to intervene if a friend is drinking too much.
Sanborn said PSUC fraternities and sororities have participated in the “Sober Sisters and Brothers” group, which involves having one sober person watching out for the whole pack.
Adirondack Hall, an on-campus residence hall, is primarily a substance-free living environment for students wishing to avoid alcohol.
Coyle said she never considered herself a binge drinker, despite her habits.
“I never really think about it until someone puts it into perspective for me.”