By David Hurtado
How can students stay happy in college? By drinking more alcohol in one setting than a frat boy at the Super Bowl game, of course.
According to a study conducted by the American Sociological Association, college students who binge drink are more likely to be happy than their peers who don’t. The study showed students from social groups considered to have high status were more likely to binge drink than those from lower groups. This, in turn, led binge drinking to become associated with being popular on campus.
“I think college students drink because they assume they’re suppose to,” said Meghan Wiggin, student. “They think that’s what you go to college to do nowadays. Instead of going to college to get a degree, it’s to party.”
The study also found students did not binge drink because they were unhappy, but because they wanted to fit in. However, researchers found students who suffered from stress, anxiety and sexual abuse were less likely to drink.
In addition to health risks such as liver disease, binge drinking can also create extra burdens for law enforcement. Sgt. Gregory Russell, Campus Police, said since the college does not have dorms, binge drinking is not as serious of an issue as it could be.
“Because of the lack of housing on campus, we don’t have the problem that a normal college setting would have,” Russell said. “Since we won’t have frat houses, dorms or apartments nearby, it’s not a problem for [the college].”
Binge drinking is defined as consuming at least five alcoholic beverages for men and at least four for women in a single drinking session.
Although some Americans point to the media or films such as “Project X” for encouraging binge drinking, others feel personal responsibility plays just as big a role.
“There’s a certain influence that comes from the media,” said Ronald White, student. “But I think the people you hang out with generally set the tone for what you do when you have fun. I definitely think it can start out from your peers and then the culture that the media can create can make it seem like this is what you should be doing.”
Russell said to his knowledge there have not been any episodes of binge drinking at the college in recent years.
“I’ve been here approximately five years and I’ve not had any reports of binge drinking,” he said. “It’s not tolerated by school policy, and if it was headed in that direction with any kind of alcohol consumption on school property, we would take the necessary means to discourage it.”
If binge drinking were to occur at the college, Russell said Campus Police would take action in keeping with Kansas law. Failure to cooperate with Campus Police would result in the case being handed over to the Overland Park Police Department.
“We would handle it within the confines of the law,” he said. “For the most part, we would have the interest of the student in mind as to try and resolve it on a more peaceful term, without having it to end in the result of an arrest, because that arrest would stay with that individual on their record.”
Contact David Hurtado, features editor, at firstname.lastname@example.org.