*Editor’s Note: This is a past article that is being republished in the spirit of Block Party.
While some students choose to attend Bloomsburg University because of its excellent academic programs and affordability, others like that the university is located in a small town. However, according to Laura Baker, a junior Anthropology major, some students decide on Bloomsburg because of its reputation for partying.
“I sat next to a guy one semester who said he enrolled at Bloom because of block party,” said Baker. “He visited the campus during block party weekend as a high school senior and said it was the craziest party he had ever seen.”
Block party, held on April 18, is fast approaching. As always, party shirts are being sold with those catchy, beer-drinking phrases. One of this year’s t-shirts uses the word Bloomsburg as an acronym to describe drunken, passed out college students. This is not a message Bloomsburg University should be sending out to the public.
“Unfortunately Bloom has a reputation for alcohol consumption that is no longer deserved,” said Barry Jackson, professor and director of the Drug, Alcohol and Wellness Network (DAWN) on campus. “A large part of that reputation is maintained by block party behaviors that occur once a year.”
According to Jackson, Bloomsburg students do not cause most of the citations that occur during block party. Out of all people cited at last year’s block party, 75 percent were not Bloomsburg students.
Jackson admits that Bloomsburg University, like all other college campuses, has too many students who drink alcohol.
Jackson noted, “College campuses do not create problems, we inherit them.”
The university does make a considerable effort to enforce drinking codes and punish students who break the law. Unfortunately, the outside community is not shown these rules that are enforced.
“The university is a dry campus,” said Gretchen Osterman, director of Greek Affairs. “The public does not understand that because we can’t release student standards.”
Osterman, along with Greek life, is actively involved in facilitating block party events.
Block party will officially begin at 11 a.m. on April 18, and will last until 6 p.m. To take part in events, all student must be 21 years of age and wear a wristband received from a member of the Greek community.
Without a wristband, students will not be admitted into a party.
“Block party is no longer a free for all; it is much more controlled,” said Osterman. “We follow all town ordinances and depend on community members, staff, town council and the local police to help us make block party run smoothly.”
In 1995, Jackson helped establish DAWN after the death of five students who perished in an apartment fire due to alcohol consumption. When DAWN and Jackson created their first report of student behaviors in 1996, Bloomsburg University was ranked in the top 10 colleges nationally who consumed the most alcohol.
At that time 86 percent of students considered themselves to be drinkers. According to the report, the average student who considered themselves to be a drinker consumed an average of 16.7 drinks per week, with 54 percent being binge drinkers.
Today approximately 69 percent of BU students consider themselves to be drinkers.
“Within the state university system, Bloomsburg University is in the lower quarter of student consumption of alcohol,” said Jackson. “There are only a few schools that drink less than us.”
Like Osterman, Jackson said the public does not realize the university’s firm policy on drinking.
“We do have a higher report of alcohol related incidents, but we have stricter rules,” Jackson noted. “There is a higher percentage of misbehaving students caught, so it looks like a bigger problem.”
Although Bloomsburg University is statistically lowering the number of drinkers, a problems still exists.
“I saw a girl who played nine games of flip cup at least year’s block party,” said Baker. “She lost and then passed out on the floor.”
It is unrealistic to believe that college students are going to stop drinking alcohol. Like Jackson said, “Alcohol is not the problem. The problem exists in the quantity and type of drink.”Students need to obey the law and make better decisions by not binge drinking, or drinking until they become ill.
Please, when block party arrives this year, have fun but stay safe.
BU Alcohol Consumption Statistics:
·69% of BU students are drinkers, while the national average is 80%
·40% of those students have binged drank within the last month
·Average male student consumes 5.15 drinks over a three day period
·Average female student consumes 3.01 drinks, but all within one night
Many students who drink in college begin drinking in high school. Here are some statistics on teenage alcohol consumption:
·Between 80 to 85% of high school students have drank alcohol
·32% of sixth graders have tried alcohol
·78% of high school seniors are drinkers
·59% of 12th graders’ parents have favorable attitudes toward alcohol
This information is according the Pennsylvania Youth Survey (PAYS) and the CORE Survey gathered by DAWN.
Related article: BU Now to Sponsor Block Party Information Session