Abstaining at a party school
This past year The Princeton Review ranked the university as the No. 1 party school in the country. The ranking is determined by a number of factors, including beer and liquor consumption, popularity of fraternities and sororities and drug use. Even so, how does this finding affect students who choose not to drink?
According to “Alcohol Edu,” a program the university requires incoming students to take, 33 percent of incoming students have not drank alcohol the year prior to coming to the university.
Catherine Canning, a senior at the university, reflects on her ability to be someone her friends can rely on if they decide to go out.
“For me, I don’t like the taste, nor what it leads to — I don’t feel the need to alter my state of mind,” Canning says. “It’s not like my parents have been particularly strict, or that it’s against the law and I couldn’t, but it’s just a choice.”
The Student Code of Conduct acknowledges that students are going to drink, but its main point is to drink responsibly. It also provides an amnesty policy, so that students will hopefully be more encouraged to help someone who may be medically in danger.
“If it’s something you enjoy and you like to do socially, then do it safely,” Canning says.
For students like junior Madison Christian, there is no choice on whether or not they drink. She, like many other students, refrains from drinking to protect her physical well-being.
“It’s because I don’t think it’s fun and I have an intolerance so I get really sick,” Christian says.
Christian says she doesn’t mind the campus’ party culture, but that she tries to ignore it. She involves herself in other activities such as marching band as a way to stay engaged on campus without drinking.
“The best way is to not put yourself in any situations that involve it,” Christian says on how she abstains from drinking.
Emily Hodgkins, a junior at the university, explains that she has a genetic condition that prevents her from drinking. Hodgkins says her condition gives her a low tolerance to alcohol and that she tends to get sick easily. She says the best way to stay away from drinking is to get involved in activities on campus.
“Surround yourself with people who also abstain from drinking alcohol, participate in activities that don’t have to do with that [drinking],” Hodgkins says. “They shouldn’t take their peers’ opinions into account for their own decision — that shouldn’t have to be a huge pressure on them.”