Sunday, August 1, 2010

College Drinking: More Than Just a Problem (Infographic)

DegreeScout is a website geared towards students who are applying to colleges, with a goal of helping students make informed decisions about various challenges students may encounter during the search for the right school, especially when it comes to online learning.

I found this infographic while checking up on what is quickly becoming my favorite blog, Free Technology for Teachers. I've mentioned this before, but if you are a teacher you need to follow this blog! The amount of information can be a tad overwhelming, but it's easy to sift through what you know you can use in your classroom and what you can't based on your technology set up.

But, back to the topic: drinking in college. As a middle school health educator, I'm able to give students the facts/knowledge about the dangerous affects of alcohol abuse long before they enroll in college. Ideally, I also provide them with skills they choose to use to promote a healthy lifestyle as well.

When I was in undergrad, I was a resident assistant for a year and a half in a co-ed, all-freshman residence hall (we weren't allowed to call them "dorms"). Part of my job responsibility was to enforce college policies (especially alcohol policies) but another large component was to run "educationals" for my floor each month. We were never allowed to run one on safe alcohol consumption, because then we would technically be promoting an illegal activity. We could bring in campus police, or the awesome people from the Drug & Alcohol Education Center (I think that's what it was called) but these presentations were simply on the dangers of alcohol. All important information, for sure, but not always what college students wanted to hear.

I do not want to condone underage alcohol use or irresponsible alcohol use, but many kids have no idea what they're doing when it comes to consuming alcohol. The conversation about safe, responsible drinking needs to take place with every college student, and I would venture to say younger as well. Look, kids will drink. I wasn't into that scene in high school or college but plenty of friends of mine were. There's really no right answer to this issue, but I don't even see the conversation taking place in many schools, at any level.

The infographic was displayed with the following paragraph: .

"The team at was pretty shocked when these statistics surfaced about life at traditional colleges and universities. Even with the funny stick men, it is still unnerving. At first glance, it seems strange to draw the conclusion that attending a traditional college can dramatically up one’s chances of being assaulted, committing suicide, driving drunk or having a penchant for graffiti. It made us wonder: Do career colleges and online programs shield students from these unfortunate scenarios? Or is the spike in crime and drinking simply a product of youth, in which case, traditional colleges just house a large population of young (and arguably irresponsible) students? What do you think? Can these situations be avoided by enrolling in online education courses?"

Certainly food for thought, but I do think they are drawing hasty conclusions and that attending an online school is definitely not an answer to this problem. I wouldn't trade my college experience for anything in the world: I was a three season athlete, involved in many student activities and clubs on campus, presented with professors at conferences, and learned an incredible amount in and out of the classroom. I think ScoutDegree, while providing important and somewhat startling information, is making a blanket statement about traditional colleges. However, they are stimulating conversation in some way, so I can't complain about that.

The infograph is embedded below. I'm going to tie this into my classes and will also use it through a new initiative my district is undertaking with all the athletic teams at the high school. More posts on that as the fall season begins.

EDIT: I have tried to embed the infograph, but the link provided by the website doesn't seem to work. Check it out here.


  1. It reminds me of sex ed convo we had with Melissa.

    If they are going to do it anyway, at least give them the resources to do it responsibly instead of pretending that the one or two girls who get pregnant are the only girls that are having sex.

    Alcohol should be treated the same way... The first time I ever consumed alcohol was in the presence of a bunch of Brits who had been drinking their whole life. They believed that American teens have drinking problems because drinking is viewed as a problem... You know me, I think the stuff is nasty and dangerous, but their take was that if you don't give teenagers anything to rebel against, they wont rebel...

    It's interesting. They also have nudity everywhere in their newspapers... and it's not considered pornographic.

  2. The reasons students drink often and too much are 2-fold:

    1) Just like a hungry eater at a buffet, when students are surrounded by lots of liquor at a party and enjoy a small amount of it to start with, there's nothing really telling them to stop. Its like a dog and chocolate.

    2) When others drink often and frequently, the social norms adjust. If a student stood out for their excessive drinking, yes, it would be clear they have a problem. But being around lots of drinkers i.e. in the Greek world, it seems totally okay.



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