LP- Campus Wellness Symposium cautions on “the Wasted Years”

By: Logan Pierce, editor-in-chief
On Veterans Day, the Moore Norman Technology Center hosted the second annual Campus Wellness Symposium. Last year, the event focused on campuses becoming tobacco-free. Rose State College is one of 18 Oklahoma college campuses that have enacted a tobacco free policy. OU expects to be tobacco-free by Jan. 1, 2012.

Waste not, want not

This year’s keynote dealt with college student binge drinking. Dr. John Clapp, director of the Higher Education Center, delivered the presentation. “The ‘wasted’ years applies to the heavy drinking which occurs among college students,” Clapp said, “Excessive drinking is viewed, by some, as a right of passage.”

While acknowledging that most of the statistics presented mainly applies to four-year colleges with campus housing, Clapp said that the information is beneficial for any student; especially those who want to further their education at a four-year college.

Soused statistics

At the second annual Campus Wellness Symposium, Dr. John Clapp offers advice for parents when talking to their children about the dangers of college binge drinking. Photo by Logan Pierce

Binge drinking affects not only those who participate, but everyone on campus. Of college students who don’t binge drink:
60 percent suffered serious sleep interruptions.
19.5 percent were subject to unwanted advances on campus.
15 percent reported property damages.
8.7 percent were victims of assaults.

“Individuals are six times more likely to be dependent on alcohol if they start drinking before they’re 15-years-old,” Clapp said, “A sobering thought when you realize that the Oklahoma state average for those who first taste alcohol is 12-years-old.”

College drinking dates back to the 1300s, where at Oxford the St. Scholastica Day riots occurred. The riots lasted six days and were sparked by a dispute regarding the cost of alcohol sold to college students.

Gender and tonic

Fast forward to 1953. Selden Bacon and Robert Straus surveyed the frequency and quantity of alcohol consumption of college students. Their results indicated that 24 percent of men and 71 percent of women engaged in “infrequent and light” drinking, while “frequent and heavy” drinking occurred with 43 percent of men and zero percent of women.
“Recent studies on college campuses show cases where women drink men under the table,” Clapp said, “The drinking gender gap has closed.”

Clapp said that for too long, alcohol addiction was viewed as a strictly personal problem. We now know that environment plays a role. “Strategic ecological approaches that focus on the individuals and the environment are most likely to sustain change,” Clapp said.

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