The majority of Oglethorpe students make healthy decisions regarding alcohol, according to the 2016 Campus Climate Survey. However, characteristics of the unhealthier minority point to a higher likelihood that those students are male, and either athletes or Greek.
With this in mind, the Interfraternity Council (IFC), comprised of three social Greek organizations, hosted an event to discuss unhealthy drinking habits and risk management, on campuses nationwide as well as here in Oglethorpe’s chapters. Representatives from each chapter addressed a crowd of more than 60 students.First, the danger of normalizing drinking on campus was discussed to help attendees understand that many students choose not to drink at all. In fact, about 20% of Oglethorpe’s student population has never used alcohol while an additional 19% have only one drink every couple of months, according to OU’s 2014 American College Health Survey data. These numbers blast students’ perception of peer drinking habits measured by the same survey that reports students think only 3% of our population choose not to drink regularly. In the presentation, it was explained that you do not have to drink in order to have fun, even at fraternity parties.
Fraternity members also gave well-researched tips to help students drink responsibly. Among those tips were: making sure to eat first as drinking on an empty stomach speeds absorption; drinking in pairs so that a friend can help keep you accountable for questionable choices; and alternating drinks with non-alcoholic replacements to help slow down consumption.
In addition, each fraternity chapter has adopted a revamped and expanded risk management policy to create a safer environment for party-goers while in the chapter space. All three organizations stressed that underage drinking is illegal and that it will not be allowed. To aid with this, community alcohol sources like kegs and punch are never allowed in any gathering at any time. Party check-in procedures require each student to be accounted for by scanning Petrel Passes and wearing wristbands to indicate age.
“The event did an excellent job of highlighting the safety precautions necessary to have a positive experience involving alcohol without demonizing its use in general,” remarked Jordan Houser ’19. “It was nice to hear plans from the fraternities on how each one was going to keep things safe in the future and hear them be open about mistakes made in the past.”
“This was an important event not only for Oglethorpe but also for our Greek organizations,” said Chris Fernandez ’17, study body president. “Students learned about the importance of safety when drinking and our fraternities showed that they aren’t stereotypical Greek organizations. They care about safety of other students as well as themselves and they are well trained in identifying risks.”