The results of the Fall 2000 Campus Alcohol Survey indicate that Georgetown students are just below the national average for undergradute alcohol consumption.
The purpose of the survey was to “measure the perceptions and behavior of students with respect to alcohol use and related issues at Georgetown.”
A total of 4,923 students, or 75 percent of undergraduates, participated in the anonymous survey during pre-registration for Spring 2001.
According to Patrick Kilcarr, the director of the Center for Personal Development, some students may have under-reported use patterns.
The survey consisted of questions regarding alcohol use and implications and consequences of drinking. Sixty-one percent of the student body responded “occasionally getting drunk is okay as long as it doesn’t interfere with academics or other responsibilities.”
Ninty-six percent of students believe that drinking is a significant aspect of the social life at Georgetown and 63 percent of students feel that drinking is a significant part of their social life.
Of the students who responded, 1,200 do not drink.
“The survey shows a huge percentage of students don’t drink. These students are not well represented,” said Juan Gonzalez, Vice President for Student Affairs.
Six percent of the student body would describe their drinking as “heavy.”
“It is this six percent of students who most of the community pays attention to and complains about, “Gonzalez said.
Of the 80 percent who drink, about half, 49 percent, report consuming one to six alcoholic drinks per week while 13 percent report consuming more than 15 drinks per week, according to the report. Fifteen drinks per week is considered excessive drinking.
According to a 1999 national survey conduted by Dr. Henry Wechler from the Harvard School of Public Health, 44 percent of college undergraduates engage in excessive drinking.
Gonzalez said though Georgetown’s 13 percent is well below the national average, it is still a cause for concern.
Ninty-eight percent of the student body reported taking care of friends who have been drinking in order to ensure their safety. Gonzalez said he was still concerned about student safety.
Alcohol education will continue to be included at programs for first-year students, such as the New Student Orientation and Basic Talks.
The Center for Personal Development provides alcohol and drug awareness workshops for students, faculty and staff. The Center also offers Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, prevention services, a support group for children of alcoholics and referrals for off-campus services.
Recently, the Center received a two-year $25,000 grant to help with future programs that will reduce underage and binge drinking.
Gonzalez said the Office of Student Affairs will present the survey results to groups such as GUSA and the Council of Deans to facilitate discussion about drinking.
“We must send forth a strong and consistent message about the type of community we wish to share.” Gonzalez said. “It is our aim to strengthen our community by addressing this critical challenge.”