By Margarita Nahapetyan
It has never been a secret or a surprise, that college students, and particularly freshmen, like to party and have fun. However, according to the survey by the National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University, college students spend much more time drinking alcoholic beverages than studying.
Compared with previous years, the number of college students who drink booze, has not changed much, forming around 3.8 million, or 49 per cent of full-time students. However, the new research on this matter, revealed that the frequency and intensity of alcohol consumption has significantly increased. Since 1993, the number of students who drink three or more times during the period of 2 weeks, has increased by 16 per cent.
The new study involved 30,183 first-year students from 76 colleges and Universities across the U.S., who took an online alcohol education course last year, after the beginning of the first semester. An online education program for college freshmen, called 'AlcoholEdu for College' is a project that was created by Boston-based Outside the Classroom in collaboration with the NASPA - Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. According to the program's background document, its aim is to provide students with the useful and proper information that will help and assist them when it comes to making a choice about the use of alcohol. The program carries out an online survey that needs to be completed two weeks before the course begins. It analyzes students' attitudes and behaviors that are related to alcohol, as well as the consequences of drinking.
In the survey, the students were asked to report how long their drinking episodes lasted, how many beverages they have had and how long it usually took them to finish each drink. The responds were then used to determine the total amount of drinking time spent by each student during the first 2 weeks of college.
As a result, nearly 70 per cent of the participants said that they had consumed alcohol 14 days before the course began. For more than 20,000 of first course students who drank booze during this period of time, the average amount of time spent consuming alcohol was 10.2 hours per week, compared to 8.4 hours of studying. The survey also found that the average time for each student spent on workout was 5 hours per week, Web browsing or video games took the next position - with 4.1 hours on a weekly basis, and the least amount of time - 2.5 hours per week, on average, was spent by students on social networking and work for pay.
Gwendolyn Jordan Dungy, executive direct or of NASPA, says that the findings surprised her as she was sure that the young people of the new generation are very responsible, family oriented, focused on their future careers and dedicated to service. She hopes that the new information will be useful for campus and community leaders and could help them intensify their efforts in order to "de-emphasize the role of alcohol" in lives of college students.
The findings were presented last week at a conference in Seattle for campus student affairs officials.