It’s that time of year when college-bound high school seniors learn
which universities accepted them, and ultimately, which university or
college THEY will choose. When thinking about the best fit, there are
so many things to consider, including the college’s policy on alcohol.
Here is a little insight from a current college student’s perspective
about how the college alcohol policy shapes the college culture. The Thelma
McMillen Center does not take a stand on college policy, but we do encourage
open discussion and research into what is the best fit for the unique
needs of every young adult.
A Harvard study reports that about one in three colleges or universities
in America are dry campuses. Here is my perspective on how a college or
university’s alcohol and drug policy affects the college culture,
and why it is an important factor when making that final college selection.
I attend a small, private liberal arts college in St. Petersburg, Florida,
called Eckerd. We have about 1900 students, all undergraduates. Eckerd
is a “wet” campus, which means that if you are 21 years or
older, you are allowed to drink while on campus. As long as you have your
beverage in a plastic cup, you can carry it around. Students are not allowed
to play drinking games, however, or use any drugs, including marijuana.
In my opinion, there are benefits to a “wet” campus policy.
At Eckerd, there is a Good Samaritan Policy that encourages students to
seek help, rather than run for fear of punishment. The Eckerd College
policy states that, “(there is) limited immunity for students who
seek help for themselves and/or offer help to others in need.” This
means that whenever a student seeks medical aid for him/herself or another
due to the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, the impaired student and
the assisting students’ behavior is addressed by the College through
education, assessment, and/or treatment. While this policy has shown a
high report in the number of alcohol/drug reports on campus, I do not
view this as a bad thing. To me it means that more people are willing
to come forward and ask for help.
Eckerd’s “wet” campus policy is the exception. Most college
campuses are “dry,” meaning that even if a student is over
21, they are not allowed to drink or possess alcohol on campus or at student
housing. However, this does not ensure that the campus is alcohol-free.
Usually it’s just a little more hidden, or there are more off-campus parties.
Regardless of college policy, my hope is that one day we won't see
any college kids suffer alcohol related tragedies that could have been
avoided if other students noticed the signs and called for help.
We encourage students with different perspectives to share their experience
by submitting a blog on the Pass On It website. To learn more about the
project, go to www.passonit.info.