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Table of Contents

A Day in the Life of a High-Tech Liberal Arts Student

Changing Perceptions

Take Us to Our Leaders

Learning Communities - A New Approach to Residential Life

Proposed Wellness Center To Address the Whole Person

Student Center Plans Continue to Evolve

Comings & Goings, Revisited

Staying the Course

Building Bridges: January 2001 Alumni Internship Placements

Alumni Accomplishments

Magazine Cover

Changing Perceptions
Research reveals that the norms of college drinking behaviors in general are different from-and better than-the perceptions of drinking behavior.

By Lisa M. Cania M'82

Scene 1: Free cake, ice cream and balloons. Billiards, foosball, electronic darts and board games. Popcorn. It's a party-a 21st birthday party, courtesy of St. Lawrence University's Alcohol Initiative. And the guest of honor has heard the message "It's OK Not to Drink" in the card she received from her St. Lawrence family. She also learned, through the birthday card, that a recent national survey of students celebrating their 21st birthdays revealed that 30% did not drink any alcoholic beverages and that if she does decide to drink, it's smart to decide in advance how many drinks she will have.

Scene 2: Dana Dining Center, lunchtime. At each table, in the middle of the jumble of plates, glasses and utensils, a table tent challenges students to answer the question "How many times per week does the average first-year student at St. Lawrence drink?" Flip the table tent around and the answer is revealed: "65% of SLU first-year students report they drink only once or twice per week."

Scene 3: Back in the University Center, 2 a.m. Saturday. The Underground (a lounge area that in past lives has been everything from a bowling alley to a meeting room) is packed with students. Tonight the students are celebrating Carnival, the famous pre-Lenten festival of Venetian fame. In a couple of weeks, they'll have a luau. Free food brings them in, good company keeps them there.

Clearly these programs acknowledge that students drink, despite the fact that most are under the legal age of 21. To deny this is to ignore a reality of adolescent life. Just as clearly, the programs are designed to educate students about responsible drinking and to provide alternatives to events that are focused solely on alcohol consumption.

Will they work? According to the best, most contemporary research on alcohol use and abuse among college students, yes.

"Students overestimate the number of peers who drink heavily, and they accept that heavy drinking is the norm. We want students to have the facts, and the facts say that most St. Lawrence students drink responsibly, if they drink at all."
--Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychology Sarah Dakin