Study shows responsible alcohol use at Lawrence

Tara McGovern

Alcohol: Too much of a good thing? Some would deny the validity of this concept in any circumstances. However, when it comes to alcohol use, this concept is important to keep in mind.
Sites for confidential alcohol screening were available Thurs., April 12. Students could also receive one-on-one counseling about personal drinking habits.
Students offered different opinions on if and when alcohol use is a problem. Considering the number of students on campus, it is important that this topic be open to discussion.
According to Paul Valencic, Assistant Director of Counseling Services and Alcohol Education Coordinator, there was a lot to say on this matter.
At the national level, excessive alcohol consumption is a problem that must be addressed.
According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, about 1,700 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die each year from alcohol related unintentional injuries, and 599,000 students are assaulted by a person that has been drinking.
Valencic said that despite that the finances and energy that have been put into decreasing these statistics, there has only been one method of alcohol awareness education that has seemed to decrease alcohol abuse and the perceptions that cause it.
Social norming, Valencic explained, is an attempt to reduce alcohol abuse caused by false motivations and perceptions. The perceptions that college-age students tend to have about alcohol use do not match the facts.
The National College Health Assessment administered online at Lawrence University last fall revealed that 26 percent of 517 Lawrence students thought that the average Lawrentian consumes alcohol every day.
The reality is that only 0.2 percent of the 517 students surveyed reported drinking daily. Clarifying myths and misconceptions is one of the only productive strategies for combating alcohol abuse and unintentional misuse.
Valencic added that he thinks most students, when comparing Lawrence to other campuses, do not perceive drinking to be a problem here.
He brought up a point with which the majority of student opinions corresponded: Lawrence students usually put their academics first.
If excessive use of alcohol begins to interfere with an individual’s academics they usually back off.
One might say this is part of the Lawrence Difference, but it is also necessary for students to know that there are individuals that are at higher risk of being affected physically, socially and emotionally by alcohol.
Five out of six students interviewed for this article said that they had a friend whose health was being affected by their alcohol consumption.
So when does too much of a good thing become a problem? As Ormsby RLA Emily Meranda said, “It all comes down to being responsible and respectful . and educated. That’s the bottom line.