Monday, July 13, 2009

Ivy Jungle . . . Drinking on Campus

One of the few online Newsletters that I look forward to getting each month is the Ivy Jungle Network's: Campus Ministry Update. It is always interesting, informative, and relevant to those of us that work with this age-group. The latest edition just came out; usually I just link it without much comment, but because there are always some very interesting things that I think deserve more than just a “notice,” I've decided to change my approach. Throughout this week I will highlight some of the reports they mention, and give some little personal perspective as well - my comments will be in the light blue font. Enjoy!

The Ivy Jungle Network
Campus Ministry Update

June 2009
The Ivy Jungle Web Site >>

Trends in Campus Ministry, Culture and Higher Education:

Ha! Not surprisingly Campus Update almost always has something about campus drinking and other social problems on campus. Yes, I would agree, that colleges/unversities themselves are part of the problem, or at least shoulder some of the responsibility to be the answer. It seems the break from home and freedom of college brings out the worst in students. No news here, if one didn't know, Animal House opened our eyes to this issue a long time ago. But what is news is that more and more secular colleges are taking hard stances against these excesses: "may their tribe increase." These two summary reports again highlight the seriousness of the problem, and indirectly, in a sad sort of way, affirm the need for ministry to these campuses.

Maybe College is the Problem: A study by the Washington University School of Medicine demonstrates that the higher drinking age of 21 has led to a decline in binge drinking among all groups – except college students. The results, published in the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, looked at data from 1979-2006 (the mandatory drinking age of 21 went into effect in 1984). The findings show that drinking rates among males decreased by 50% among the 15-17 year old group and by 20% in the 18-20 group; and 10% in the 21-23 group. Statistics for women remained virtually unchanged – except in the 21-23 group where binge drinking increased by 40%! On the whole, binge drinking declined significantly among men – unless they were in college, where they increased slightly. Among women, overall binge drinking was up slightly, but up significantly among women attending college. In light of the Amethyst proposal, the authors of the study conclude that the higher drinking age is in fact good for public health. (Science Daily June 23, 2009)

Alcohol Injuries Increase on Campus: Despite efforts to curb binge drinking on campus, the number of alcohol related deaths increased from 1440 to 1825 between 1998 and 2005. This 26% increase coincides with an increase in enrollment as well. The report has fueled the debate over the national drinking age as some point to the results, published by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, as some say it demonstrates the failure of the 21 year old drinking age. However, others point out that binge drinking rates are "significantly higher among 21-24 year olds than 18-20 year olds. (Inside Higher Ed June 16, 2009)

3 John 8
Bill H.

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