Drinking is down among all freshmen

College students might not drink as much as is commonly believed, according to a report by Outside the Classroom, the organization that created AlcoholEdu.

Outside the Classroom created a survey polling approximately one-third of the total freshmen entering colleges and four-year universities since 2006. The results showed there has be an increase in the number of incoming freshmen who abstain from alcohol.

The number of students rose from 38 percent in 2006 to 62 percent in 2010.

Drinking seems to be going down significantly in recent times. Photo illustration by: Brandon Hui.

USC freshmen are no exception to this growing trend. USC’s AlcoholEdu report shows that 53 percent of incoming freshmen in 2006 abstained from alcohol, while 61 percent of the 2010 freshman class identified themselves as abstainers before the start of the fall semester.

Brandon Busteed, CEO of Outside the Classroom, said this recent trend might have to do with the economic downturn. Busteed told USA Today the reason the percentage of teetotalers has increased is because students are taking their education more seriously to position themselves to compete in the job market and secure their financial futures.

“A lot of young adults realize that the quickest thing you can do to destroy a job interview is to go in all shiny and polished up, and then they check Facebook and there they are at a keg stand,” Busteed said.

Last year, an AlcoholEdu report found that 46 percent of students choose to abstain from alcohol because they don’t want to spend their money on buying it.

“Everything is going up,” said Joy Phan, a freshman majoring in music. “Meal plans and housing is going up, and there’s so many other things to spend money on as a student.”

Some freshmen at USC have noticed a change in the behavior of their friends, saying that students are more commonly choosing schoolwork over social events.

“My friends seem a lot more focused on doing well in school rather than partying or drinking,” said Naren Sahai, a freshman majoring in environmental engineering. “I think this has to do with doing better so that we can get better jobs and compete in this economy.”

Still, though 62 percent of this year’s incoming freshman class did not drink alcohol before coming to college, AlcoholEdu’s mid-semester survey reports that only 48 percent of students continue to classify themselves as abstainers.

Alcohol survey finds 62 percent of this year’s incoming freshman class did not drink alcohol before coming to college. Photo illustration by: Robin Laird

AlcoholEdu has deemed this drop the “college effect,” and it occurs all around the country, according to Paula Swinford, director of Health Promotion and Prevention Services.

“Part of the culture of college is engaging in high-risk drinking,” Swinford said. “Part of the challenge is that there continues to be a huge marketing campaign to encourage consumption of alcohol.”

Despite the data on drinking rates, the Dept. of Public Safety has seen an increase in the number of alcohol-related cases it’s received since 2007.

In 2009, there were 107 transports, and DPS is expecting an even higher number this year.

Drinking leads to serious problems not just in college, but in the real world. Photo illustration by: Cory Sanford

Of particular concern to DPS Capt. David Carlisle is the number of medical transports.

“Last semester we had a concern about the number of students who had to be hospitalized because of toxic alcohol levels. The number was unusually high,” Carlisle said. “It’s difficult for me to tie alcohol consumption to the economy, looking at the number of alcohol related incidents.”

8 replies
  1. A groper and a cockfighter
    A groper and a cockfighter says:

    Badmouth- I’m sure you enjoyed living west of campus with your philosophy major friends. However, the rest of us enjoy partying with our rich friends, all of whom will be much more successful than you for no other reason than who we know.

    • BadMouth
      BadMouth says:

      off the point.. too much analysis or this is just a sign of uneducated-literate’s disease?
      Unfounded assumptions: I am poor, I am philosophy major, I do not drink, I do not party, and I live on the west side of the campus.. Hell!!! you didn’t get any of them right?

      In my comments, I do not presume anything about financial status/class of the students. All I point out is the degenerate behavior in public places from excessive consumption of colorful libations…
      Were you one of the rich shoplifters I saw the other day- b u t t hurt moron…

  2. Rich Salas
    Rich Salas says:

    Rubbish. Drinking is what it it was, what it is, and always will be…most do it, few admit to how much. Another falsity of this weak report is that drinking will result in a person not getting a job, when in reality all studies indicate that the most successful of people frequent bars on a regular basis. This article is hog wash.

  3. Estudiante
    Estudiante says:

    And the headline is poorly worded…
    Regardless of what the alcohol-EDU survey revealed, drinking would not be down among “all” freshmen; there would fewer freshmen drinking, which means something entirely different. Just sayin…

  4. Sober Lush
    Sober Lush says:

    “Self-reporting” =/= honesty. Human nature is that, people have a tendency to downplay any negative attributes about themselves. You’re only fooling yourself.

    These “self reported” polls are useless; the number of freshmen who drink is higher than what polls reveal.

  5. JAR
    JAR says:

    Important statistic to note: halfway through first semester freshmen abstinence rate had dropped from from 62% to 48%. This is evidence for the significant pressure to drink at USC, whether social or stress-related.

  6. Nordeezy
    Nordeezy says:

    I knew USC was getting soft

    Interesting that the numbers began declining after 2006, the year I graduated.


  7. BadMouth
    BadMouth says:

    Problem is more deeply rooted than the article paints it to be.. try eating at the joints by the row on weekends.. drunken shoplifters sneaking free kettle baked chips, wasted students thrash talking to the homeless, and off course the gropers and cockfighters.. Once I had to call the DPS when a bunch of drunken retards were taking on a guy… No wonder DPS and LAPD patrol the area like vultures..

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