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Animal House Or Not?; Student Drinking Stats Surprise

Posted on Tuesday, August 31, 2004

The Toronto Sun, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Page: 8
Section: News
Byline: BY CHRIS DOUCETTE, TORONTO SUN

A STUDY on boozing at post-secondary schools may have parents breathing a sigh of relief, but it's getting mixed reviews from students.

The idea that campus living is like "animal house gone wild" is a huge misconception, Dr. Wesley Perkins, who led the research, said yesterday.

The Student Life Education Company examined drinking patterns of more than 5,000 students at 11 colleges and universities across the country and claimed to find a difference between actual and perceived behaviour.

The study found that while a majority of students, 63%, consume alcohol twice a month or less, 80% of them believe their fellow students drink at least once a week or more. And one-third believe their peers drink at least three times a week.

About 64% of students said they consumed one to four drinks when they go out, but 67% believe students consume five or more drinks per outing. And one-quarter believe the average consumption is seven or more drinks.

"I think it's a crock," said U of T student Graydon Tisdall, who admits to drinking heavily three or four nights a week during the academic year.

He said he believes there are far more people like himself than the study indicates.

Jason, one of the 18 frat brothers living with Tisdall and who did not want his last name used, agreed and wondered if releasing the results of the study may do harm.

The study may provide comfort to mothers and fathers as they send their kids off to school, he said, but it could also deter people from attending post-secondary school.

"It's supposed to be a party, that's why people go to university and college," Jason said.

However, casual drinkers like Holden Smith, 19, and his girlfriend Erin Somerville, 20, feel the findings are accurate and say the information may be helpful to first-year students.

"The thought that you're supposed to drink when you go to university is a frat mentality," Smith said. "It's not like that."

 


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