NESCAC deans share results of 2015 Alcohol and Drug Survey

November 11, 2015 by James Rasmussen, Staff Writer

According to results from the 2015 NESCAC Alcohol and Drug Survey, the College saw some small improvements from the 2012 survey: Students’ reported drinking intensity and reported drinking mishaps both decreased slightly.

In 2012, the deans of NESCAC schools sent the first comprehensive survey to students with plans to conduct the survey every three years as a way to investigate student habits regarding drugs and alcohol. With the survey data, colleges can create initiatives and make adjustments in order to create a safe, inclusive space for students who choose to engage in or abstain from the College’s drinking culture.

The most notable changes for the College over the past three years occurred with regards to drinking intensity: The maximum number of drinks students reported drinking decreased from seven to 6.5. Students also reported experiencing fewer negative effects of student drinking. For instance, fewer students reported sleep interruptions as a result of another’s drinking and fewer reported harassment by a drinking student. The number of students who reported vomiting from alcohol in the past twelve months decreased as well; however, half of respondents still reported vomiting from alcohol in the past twelve months.

“The changes we see are in the direction that we would want to see,” Dean of the College Sarah Bolton said.

Despite the relatively good standing of the College, plans are still being made to improve the drinking culture on campus. Programming for first-year students, such as the “Voices” session during First Days, is a result of data from the survey.  These sessions emphasized that drinking is not necessary for a good social life.

Additionally, Health Educator Laini Sporbert is testing a new program, titled “#notetoself,” in two entries this year. In this program, first-year students write letters to themselves about the social lives they expect to build during their time at the College.

The changes made to party policies earlier this year are also a result of data from the survey (See “College Modifies Party Policies”, Sept. 16, 2015).

“There’s still a very long way to go,” Bolton said. “The alcohol working group is continuing to work this year both on implementing the ideas from last year and on some new educational initiatives. This collaboration between students and staff has been really positive, and we are glad to see it move forward.”

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