From USA Today:
Several universities regularly listed among the nation’s top “party schools” are joining city officials and bar owners to try to curb the supply of the biggest contributor to binge drinking on and off campus: abundant, cheap beer.
The University of Florida is working with Gainesville bar owners, beer distributors and City Hall to discourage drink-till-you-drop specials and to start police “party patrols” to clamp down on rowdy keggers and kids violating the national legal drinking age of 21.
Two factors drive drinking on campus, according to studies from 1993 to 2004 by Harvard’s School of Public Health:
•Price. The lower the cost of pitchers, kegs and cases of beer, the higher the rates of heavy drinking among students. Aggressive advertising in campus newspapers feeds the problem, data show.
•Prevalence. The higher the number of bars and liquor stores around campus, the higher the percentage of binge drinkers, who have four or five drinks at a sitting.
Ok…problem solved, right?
I don’t think so.
I really don’t believe price has anything to do with binge drinking on college campuses. When walking out the door on a Friday night in College Town USA, a 21-year-old is thinking about getting drunk, not price. If it costs only $3 a pitcher, or 15 cents a cup – that much more the better. But the guy (or gal) is getting drunk either way.
I’ll throw even more gas on the fire: many college kids could care less about price, because they’re on their parents’ dime. Either that, or they’re spending the overage between their Stafford Loan and the actual tuition cost that semester (a very common practice in my circle of friends at IU a few years back). I even had a friend or two who took out extra loans just so they could party and live it up.
One of the real reasons that kids drink heavily on college campuses is because class is just not that challenging. College for many is just a chance to waste four more years with friends. Throw in a dose of cultural acceptance of binge drinking that didn’t exist 30 years ago and you have a recipe for hard living. A few learn a great deal, but many are just passing the time without having to think too hard. Some even take that a step further by going to law school when they know damn well they don’t want to be a lawyer (ahem). Both undergraduate and graduate levels afford the young a chance to put off serious life decisions that are best tackled much earlier on.
Many would be a lot better off just jumping into the workforce at 18…
You can read more of Dave Johnston’s takes at newdave.com.
Ed/Pub:LMPowered by Sidelines