Last week, two students were temporarily arrested by law enforcers for demonstrating unbecoming behavior and damaging property belonging to private citizens after engaging in an off-campus binge drinking. Later in the week, another college student sustained serious injuries after he was run over by a motorist, but after preliminary investigations, the police said the student was too drunk and was returning to the campus after a night of partying at a neighborhood joint. While these accounts may be viewed as isolated incidences, it is clear that many students are grappling with the problem of binge drinking and the outcomes are already having a negative impact on student-community relations.
One doesn’t need to look far to see that the two incidents reported last week are a major pointer to a greater and more lethal problem of off-campus binge drinking, which will ultimately damage the social fabric holding the students and the community together. In the 2010 academic year, for instance, the school received 120 complaints from private citizens on antisocial student behavior after engaging in binge drinking and partying. In 2011, the reports shot up by 65 percent to 198, and neighbors are saying that the crimes committed by students upon engaging in off-campus drinking are becoming increasingly dangerous. Not so long ago, a student of this campus was committed to jail after raping and critically injuring a bar patron in one of the neighborhood drinking joints.
Away from statistics, there has been a noted shift in relations between the community members and students in the recent past. The level of mistrust between the students and the neighboring community has dramatically increased. Recently, an online sports magazine sponsored by the school’s basketball team noted that neighbors no longer grace school tournaments in huge numbers as was the case some few years ago. This indicator points out to the decay of relationships between students and the immediate community, and off-campus binge drinking – though not necessarily the sole culprit – has had a major role to play in dampening the harmonious relationship between school and community (Penny & Armstrong-Hallam 85-88).
Available literature reports that “heavy alcohol use by college students can lead to a cascade of alcohol-related problems, such as increased chances of risky behavior, lowered GPAs, and lowered income potential” (Center for Science in the Public Interest 1). While decreased academic achievement and dwindling income potential may affect students in their individual capacity, increased chances of risky behavior affect the students as well as the immediate community.
A survey released last week by a Christian agency operating on campus demonstrates that many female members of the community no longer feel safe walking alone at night due to isolated but increasing incidences of rape. In a way, binge-drinking among students can be directly related to the increasing rape incidences in the neighborhood because alcoholism leads to risky behavior (Saltz et al 26).
From the ongoing, it is clear that this problem is serious if the negative consequences it has on the surrounding communities are anything to go by. The campus administration needs to liaise with neighborhood networks to reduce disruptive off-campus drinking.
One of the ways that could be used to achieve this goal is to enhance student integration into, and accountability to, the immediate communities in which they reside in, with the view to enhance peaceful co-existence and corroboration between the students and community members (Saltz et al 21). Another way is to implement community and environmental policy shifts to curb negative behavior. Lastly, laws and regulations need to be enforced to arrest any instances of misbehavior arising from binge drinking (Center for Science in the Public Interest 1).
Center for Science in the Public Interest n.d., College Students and Alcohol Use. 2012. Web.
Penny, Gillian N and Sarah Armstrong-Hallam 2010, Student Choices and Alcohol Matters (SCAM): A Multi-Level Analysis of Student Alcohol (Mis)Use and its Implications for Policy and Prevention Strategies within Universities, Cognate Educational Establishments and the Wider Community. Web.
Saltz, Robert F., Lara R. Walker, Mallie, J. Paschell, Maggie A. Feeney, and Patricia M. Fabiano. “Evaluating a Comprehensive Campus Community Prevention Intervention to Reduce Alcohol-Related in a College Population.” Journal of Studies on Alcohol & Drugs. 24.6 (2009): 21-27. Web.