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Study: Freshmen drink more than they study

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Published on March 22, 2009 in The Huntingon News

Chug, chug, chug, chug, chug, chug, chug, chug. Freshmen, freshmen, freshmen, freshmen.

These lyrics, chanted in the recently popular song ‘I Love College’ by Asher Roth, ring true to drinking habits of first year students, a study conducted by public health group Outside The Classroom found.

The study found that 68.9 percent of polled freshmen had consumed alcohol in the two weeks prior to the study, and those students spent more time drinking than studying a week. Students drink an average of 10.2 hours compared to 8.4 hours of studying.

“This specific investigation was to identify the average American college student that drinks, and with that analysis found that average,” a representative for Outside The Classroom said in an e-mail to The News. “These findings are indeed generalizable to the overall college population.”

Though there is no data similar to this specific to Northeastern, Vice President of Student Affairs Ed Klotzbier said in a statement to The News that it’s plausible the situation is similar here.

“No college campus is immune to alcohol use by students, and it often interferes with school work,” he said.

Some freshman students said they were skeptical of the numbers.

“I think that people think they drink more than they actually do,” said Julia Vogel, a freshman communication studies major.

According to the study, drinking also interferes with other activities like working for pay, which on average only takes up 2.2 hours a week, or exercising, which students surveyed said they spent about 5 hours a week doing.

“Many hours are lost drinking during the week,” the representative for Outside The Classroom said. “These hours could have otherwise been spent focusing on academics, engaging in psychologically and physically healthy behaviors and building positive social bonds with one’s peers.”

The study was taken by first year college students online at 76 colleges and universities nationwide after the start of first semester. However, freshman communication studies major Kate Contreras said she thinks the results are skewed.

“I think that first semester freshman go out of control, but calm down by second semester,” she said.

Northeastern still takes preventative measures to try to make such numbers atypical to the school, Klotzbier said.

“[The Office of Prevention and Education at Northeastern (OPEN)] is one of the great resources available to all of our students with successful outreach programs to help them make informed, responsible decisions around alcohol use by them and by others around them,” Klotzbier said.

OPEN is an office within Student Affairs that hosts events and speaks to incoming pledge classes as part of Greek life.

Contreras said she didn’t think OPEN was very helpful.

“The school sent OPEN to talk to all of the spring pledges, and we all just sat there,” she said. “It was all stuff we already knew.”

In addition to being repetitive, Vogel also said that such programs tend to be mocked by attendees.

“Most of those programs just make people laugh,” she said.

Despite the school’s efforts and such statistics, students said they don’t think much can be done to change the party attitudes of freshmen.

“I think that when it comes down to it, it’s part of the college lifestyle,” Vogel said. “And no one really wants to give that up.”

Written by jdunccc

March 22, 2009 at 12:00 am

Posted in The Huntington News

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