Delivering American University's news and views since 1925. | Sunday, April 22, 2018

Survey: Students drink more than study

A recently released survey found that nearly half of responding college students in the U.S. who consume alcohol spend more time drinking than they do studying.

The National Association of Student Personnel Administrators survey of more than 30,000 college freshmen, released March 22, found 49.4 percent of respondents who drank spent more time drinking than studying, according to USA Today. Students who had consumed alcohol in the past two weeks spent an average of 10.2 hours a week drinking and 8.4 hours studying. Nearly 70 percent of respondents admitted to drinking.

More than half of AU students reported binge drinking in the past two weeks in the results of the Feb. 2008 Core Alcohol and Drug Survey - a higher percentage than the national average of 47 percent, according to Alan Duffy, health educator at the Student Health Center.

"In terms of the statistics on how much of a problem [drinking] is here and how many transports we have, it is definitely a big problem at AU," he said. "It's a big problem at every college campus around the country, but we found that AU is above the national average."

There were 50 alcohol transports to local hospitals during the last academic year, compared to 35 in the previous academic year, Duffy said.

In the last Core survey, 25 percent of AU students responded that they do not drink at all, according to Associate Dean of Students Sarah Waldron.

Approximately 33 percent of AU students reported they have been in an argument or fight as a result of drinking, she said. Twenty-six percent missed class, 18 percent performed poorly on a test and 92 percent of those respondents who had unwanted sexual intercourse said alcohol or drugs were a factor.

Charles Sebatier, a freshman in the School of Public Affairs, said he believes the USA Today statistics accurately portray alcohol usage at U.S. colleges, including AU.

"I can definitely see that statistic being true," he said. "I don't think it's a problem at AU, though, as much as it is at other schools. Students here get their work done while still having fun."

Zachary Browning, a sophomore in the School of International Service, said he thinks freshmen drink more than other students.

"When you get the freedom of going to college, especially for the first two months, it's tempting to drink a lot more than at other times," he said. "[Students] either make enough mistakes that they don't last at AU, or they learn from their experiences and mature."

Instead of focusing on abstinence from drinking altogether, AU is telling students to handle alcohol responsibly, Duffy reported.

"Whatever you are going to do, if you are going to drink, drink sensibly," he said.

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