A recent study by NASPA, a professional organization for student affairs administrators, indicates that almost half of incoming college freshmen who drink alcohol spend an average of 10.2 hours per week drinking and only 8.4 hours each week studying for class. Based upon the methods used to obtain the data, I’d believe the results to be fairly accurate. The data came from survey results of approximately 30,000 students at 76 campuses who took an online alchol education class. Though the participants were not randomly selected, there does seem to be a relatively wide array of students involved in the study.
The validity of the study is really not what is at question here though. I think the implicatins it brings up need to be considered. It appears that although the number of college students who drink is not on the rise, the frequency with which they are partaking in activities surrounding alcohol is increasing. What does that mean for students, schools, and administrators?
Adolescence is a time of self-discovery. It’s natural for college freshmen to explore their newfound independence and to seek their identity through social endeavors involving alcohol. Perhaps an increased focus on issues of self-esteem, decision-making, and impulse control in the high school curriculum can help to circumvent some of the pressure to indulge in activities involving alcohol in college. Maybe time and life experience are necessary in order for young college students to learn to better manage their responsibilities. What is important is that students are aware of the trend. With awareness can come change.
Knowing the increase in college drinking should spark institutions of higher education to consider their policies regarding safety and students’ well-being. There may need to be training for campus police, increased campus safety measures taken, or stricter penalties implemented for alcohol infringements.
College and university administrators bear the majority of the burden for dealing with this study’s implications. Administrators will need to take action to educate and inform students, faculty, and staff regarding ever-increasing alchol related activity. Educational programs, both preventive and remedial, will need to be developed or modified to meet the needs of today’s student body.
What are your thoughts regarding this study? I’d love to hear from current students and administrators. What do you think the implications of the study may be? Let me hear your thoughts.