College is just one big party, right? With Malibu Mondays, Tequila Tuesdays, Wisky Wednesdays, Tanqueray Thursdays, Fuzzy Navel Fridays, Schnapps Saturdays, and Smirnoff Sundays, it certainly seems that way. But now, one college is making a strong effort to address this misconception.
Southern Vermont College recently joined with the Southshire Substance Abuse Coalition to create a “Social Norming” campaign. This campaign will show students that drinking to excess is not a realistic part of the college experience and that not everyone parties every single day; in fact, very few people do.
“Instead of pounding people with the ‘just say no’ message, which doesn’t work, we’re going to look at the data,” said Glen Gross, community coordinator for the Southshire Substance Abuse Coalition. “The perception is (college) is the place to experiment with alcohol. Everyone doesn’t drink and drive, everyone doesn’t do 21 shots on their 21st birthday. That’s what we want to show.”
The goal is to present students with data that disproves the standard stereotypes about college students and drinking. The coalition conducted a survey that asked student to compare themselves to the “average” college student, concerning drinking and partying habits. The results show that most students do not drink nearly as much as they thought the average student drinks.
Michael Goodwin, the Director of Counseling Services at Southern Vermont College, hopes that the program will be very successful and cites evidence that similar campaigns at other colleges have been very successful in reducing binge drinking on college campuses. The campaign at Southern Vermont College will last 18 months. If it is successful, Gross and Goodwin hope to implement the campaign at other high schools and colleges in their area.