September 22, 2004

Frosh Alcohol Use Consistent With Past Years'

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Campus officials believe that this year’s freshman class seems to be following in their predecessors’ path in terms of alcohol use.

According to Todd Carlson, Mews residence hall director, alcohol related incidents seem to be occurring at the same rate as last year. “It’s not really changing, but it’s still too early to tell,” he said.

Grant MacIntyre ’05, a residential advisor, agreed that “it’s pretty much the same as last year,” and added that the freshman drinking patterns and alcohol related incidents are “fairly constant” in relation to the 2003 – 2004 academic year.

AlcoholEdu, a website that assists students in making healthy decisions regarding alcohol use in college, is a program run by Gannett Health Center.

This year, the program was mandatory to all incoming freshman. The two hour course included information on blood alcohol concentration, low-risk drinking and recognizing and responding to an alcohol-related emergency among other things.

“It was helpful and pretty comprehensive. It took up too much of my time, but overall it was still pretty good,” said Dan Saper ’08.

Nicole Mangiere ’08 agreed that the information was useful but added that “it was very boring.”

Although all incoming freshman are required to take AlcoholEdu, many freshman still end up having problems with alcohol usage. Deborah Lewis, director of the Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention with College students (BASIC) said that “out of 486 students that went through BASIC last year, 199 cases were from the Judicial Administrator’s office, and 176 of them were referred by Residence Hall Directors.” She added that a fair proportion of the J.A. cases were freshmen, and nearly all of the referrals made by RHDs were freshmen students.

BASIC is a program that complements AlcoholEdu by allowing referred students to personally address their relationship with alcohol. It is a two session, confidential course which does not diagnose or label, but instead allows “students to talk honestly” about “basically anything [concerning] how to take care of yourself at college,” according to Lewis. She added many students despite being required to complete the program come away learning something about themselves.

Lewis said that many students leave thinking that it “wasn’t as bad as they thought it was going to be.”

Even though there are many alcohol education resources, incidents and accidents concerning drinking have and will continue to arise. Many students like the fact that Cornell has a medical amnesty policy.

“It is a really good thing. It is a good protective policy for people who actually make a mistake and have too much to drink,” Mangiere said.

She also added that she likes the protection that is allotted for those who call for help; “[The medical amnesty policy] protects the person taking responsibility for the person that is too drunk to take care of themselves.”

“Even though Cornell does a good job in trying to educate their students about the affects of alcohol, kids are still going to drink. The irresistibility of the frat house parties and the fun associated with them will never go away,” said one freshman.

Archived article by Stephanie Wickham
Sun Staff Writer