Cumberland Times-News

Community News Network

September 6, 2013

Schools try new strategies to battle college drinking

(Continued)

The cozy first floor of the modular house was jammed with undergraduates, at least 100 at any one time, dramatically upping the indoor temperature from the crisp night outside, where a dozen smokers chose to hang out. Pop and house music blared.

A feisty young woman guarded the door and interrogated every person who tried to enter. She let in close friends, sorta-friends, fellow seniors and younger students who were in a religious retreat group one of her roommates led.

"We decided to go big," explained another one of the hostesses, wearing a black spaghetti-strap top with her cellphone tucked into her cleavage.

In one corner, seniors sipped Natty Light and talked about what they wanted to do before graduation. A couple of women tried to get everyone dancing. One guy alternated swigs of orange soda and vodka. A communal bottle of Wild Turkey made its way through the horde.

Most of the crowd was binge drinking but mostly on light beer and over hours. They would go to sleep - not pass out - get up the next morning and go about working and studying. But a couple of guys appeared bombed, including a stumbling senior who gave a lengthy interview to a reporter, then emailed the next afternoon. "I was speaking with you last night, and I have no recollection of it whatsoever," he wrote.

One woman didn't drink at all. She never does, as alcohol has hurt her family.

This party could be on any campus. On that Friday night in April, it was at Boston College, a Jesuit school that allows of-age seniors to host parties on Friday and Saturday nights in their on-campus modular houses (known as "The Mods"), which went up in the '70s as temporary housing for baby boomers.

The seniors must register parties and create a plan for what kind of alcohol they will serve, along with nonalcoholic beverages and food. Hosts must agree not to serve underage students, but younger students often sneak in, several students said. And it's not as if the dorms are lacking alcohol, despite strict rules against it.

Like many schools, Boston College has upped the alcohol education it offers students, along with limiting access to alcohol, focusing attention on students' making healthy decisions, offering alcohol-free events and packing students' schedules.

"If they're under 21, it's always a risky choice to make, because there are consequences. But if that's a choice they are going to make, we want to give them some tools for doing it safely," said Robyn Priest, associate director of BC's office of health promotion.

Even if students find alcohol ed tedious or boring, the message usually sticks. And those messages are reiterated over time.

Outside the Mods that Friday night, Chestnut Hill swarmed with students searching for alcohol or stumbling home from having had too much. Cabs hovered near the entrance. The sound of women shouting "woooooo!" floated from an open dorm window.

A pack of guys poured out of one of the sophomore halls. One was frantically texting, as his friend impatiently asked: "Do you know of a party?" Another clarified: "Do you know of even a hint of a party?"

Inside Mod 15A, the party continued.

"See how it's really hot and super crowded? That's a Mod party," said a senior in jeans and a T-shirt. And this crowd is nothing, he explained, yelling and cracking open a beer. The previous weekend another group of women hosted a party in their Mod that attracted so many people, who danced so hard, that the floor sagged and needed repair.

These students said they don't think their drinking is any heavier or lighter than that at other colleges. Students drink - sometimes too much - but "It's work hard, play hard," said a 22-year-old senior. "I've had marathon weeks with seven nights straight, and I've had weeks where I drink one night."

Just after 1 a.m., the music cut out. "Sorry, guys," one of the hosts yelled, "party is over."

Some students chug the rest of their drinks; others take them for the walk home. There's a debate over whether they could get to the local dive bar before last call. Many students make their way - some swaying, arms around each other - to a dining hall that serves greasy late-night food, a service schools have begun to offer to get sustenance in the stomachs of imbibing students.

The students who threw the party begin picking up beer cans, putting furniture back into place - and de-tagging unflattering photos on Facebook.

Text Only
Community News Network
  • Wal-Mart to cut prices more aggressively in back-to-school push

    Wal-Mart Stores plans to cut prices more aggressively during this year's back-to-school season and will add inventory to its online store as the chain battles retailers for student spending.

    July 21, 2014

  • Hospitals let patients schedule ER visits

    Three times within a week, 34-year-old Michael Granillo went to the emergency room at Northridge Hospital Medical Center in Los Angeles because of intense back pain. Each time, Granillo, who didn't have insurance, stayed for less than an hour before leaving without being seen by a doctor.

    July 21, 2014

  • Starved Pennsylvania 7-year-old weighed only 25 pounds

    A 7-year-old Pennsylvania boy authorities described as being so underweight he looked like a human skeleton has been released from the hospital.

    July 21, 2014

  • Malaysians wonder 'Why us?' after second loss of airline jet

    It was all too familiar. Grieving families rushing to airport. The flashing television graphics of a plane's last radar appearance. The uncomfortable officials before a heavy thicket of microphones.
    For many Malaysians, the disappearance of Flight 370 in March has been a long trauma from which the nation has not yet recovered.

    July 18, 2014

  • A quarter of the world's most educated people live in the 100 largest cities

    College graduates are increasingly sorting themselves into high-cost, high-amenity cities such as Washington, New York, Boston and San Francisco, a phenomenon that threatens to segregate us across the country by education.

    July 18, 2014

  • Your chocolate addiction is only going to get more expensive

    For nearly two years, cocoa prices have been on the rise. Finally, that's affecting the price you pay for a bar of chocolate - and there's reason to believe it's only the beginning.

    July 18, 2014

  • Facebook tests button to let people shop from its website

    Members on desktop computers or mobile devices can click a "buy" button to make purchases through advertisements or other posts on the world's largest social network, the Menlo Park, California-based company said Thursday in a blog post.

    July 17, 2014

  • The terrible history of passenger planes getting shot out of the sky

    What is more clear is that, if initial reports are true, this would be the deadliest incident of a civilian passenger plane being shot down in modern memory. In some instances, the causes of the disaster are still shrouded in mystery. Here are some of the worst events.

    July 17, 2014

  • 130408_NT_BEA_good kids We're raising a generation of timid kids

    A week ago, a woman was charged with leaving her child in the car while she went into a store. Her 11-year-old child. This week, a woman was arrested for allowing her 9-year-old daughter to go to the park alone. Which raises just one question: America, what the heck is wrong with you?

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • web_starbucks-cof_big_ce.jpg Starbucks sees more Apple-like stores after Colombia debut

    This week Starbucks opened its first location in Colombia — a 2,700-square-foot store with a heated patio, concrete columns, mirrors on the ceiling and walls of colorful plants.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

Latest news
Facebook
Must Read
House Ads