We have all witnessed the use of alcohol on campus. Recently, fraternity court was shut down for a period of several weeks prior to spring break. Due to recent events, a new look at alcohol on campus is taking hold. The policies for fraternity court are being analyzed and reevaluated.
Just before spring break I spoke with Ms. Linda Jameison. She is very interested in the students of PC and their opinions on the subject of alcohol. She has been working diligently with a new group as part of an effort to raise awareness of alcohol and it’s affects. A new campus group is slowly emerging in response. Bob Staten who is the chief of staff, is now in charge of the group which is made up of faculty, staff and student leaders here at PC. The group is aiming to raise awareness and provide education on alcohol. The peer educators on campus are even getting involved with the program. For the past several weeks the group has been working on analyzing PC’s existing policies, alcohol education programs and peer institutions to see if PC can make any positive changes to help raise awareness on alcohol.
PC has already made short term changes in its policies toward alcohol. As was mentioned before, fraternity court was shut down for several weeks. When questioned why fraternity court was shut down for so long, Ms. Jameison responded it was not only out of respect for an unfortunate event earlier this semester, but that she also wanted students to take a step back and think about how alcohol is involved in their lives. Ms. Jameison is interested in listening to students’ opinions and concerns. Her goal is to raise alcohol awareness and make students see alcohol education as an asset instead of an inconvenience. I took the time to speak with Ms. Jameison about her opinions on alcohol in schools. Ms. Jameison believes that all colleges have a drinking problem. College is a time where students are more likely to experiment and branch out. College is a time of fun and curiosity. College is also a time of growing and maturing. Not having mom and dad around to prevent you from drinking makes it easier to drink freely. Ms. Jameison recognizes the problem as a nationwide problem for the college age group.
As a freshman myself, I have heard much about the Frat houses and how much fun they can be. In most of the stories heavy drinking is experienced. This year every freshman was instructed to take an alcohol education course before the fall semester started. In that course it was discovered that only 37% of the freshman class has never had an alcoholic beverage. On a core survey given to PC students, PC was discovered to be below the national average on alcohol consumption but higher than the national average on bing drinking. Bing drinking is dangerous because it quickly intoxicates your body and can lead to severe consequences. I asked Ms. Jameison if she believed PC would consider the possibility of becoming a dry campus. Her opinion is that becoming a dry campus would be ineffective. Let’s be honest, kids will be kids and college students will find a way. PC faculty, staff and student leaders are actively searching for a way to provide alcohol education to students in a way that they will not only receive the information but utilize it.
As students at PC it is our responsibility to be responsible when it comes to alcohol consumption. Part of being a responsible student is to understand PC’s policies toward alcohol use. PC is now prohibiting liquor. Only students of legal drinking age (21 or older) are only allowed to have beer and wine on campus. Students that are of legal age to purchase alcohol should not supply it to those who are not legal. PC also issues alcohol violations. After each alcohol violation, the student must take more of the alcohol education course. Remember that the only consequence is not just taking an online alcohol education course. Alcohol can impair your vision and judgment. Also, if you are under the age of twenty-one, it is illegal to purchase alcohol and therefore illegal to consume it. It is important to remember that every action has a reaction. Alcohol is a choice that can turn a simple social event into a bad night and maybe even a deadly one. Stay responsible.
For more information about the new alcohol policy be sure to attend the House Meeting/Student forum on the issue this Sunday, April 1, at 7:00. If you can’t make the meeting, look for part two of this article next week.