Vice Squad
Friday, October 31, 2003
College Drinking Environment

Friend of Vice Squad Dima Masterov passes along this news story concerning a study
indicating that campus diversity (in the form of women, minorities, and older students)
tends to decrease binge drinking in college. Young white males binge drink at higher
rates than other groups, but the study found that "the greater presence of groups at
lower risk of binge-drinking seemed to have a moderating effect on the high-risk
groups." The article suggests that the heavy drinking associated with (predominantly)
white fraternities might be due to similar environmental factors.

Earlier, Dima directed the attention of Vice Squad to a recent paper that found that
a good way to lower your college GPA, if you are a male and especially if you are
a male who drank frequently in high school, is to have as a roommate a male who
drank frequently in high school! The earlier paper and today's article suggest that
the drinking behavior (or previous drinking behavior) of the folks around you can
exert substantial influence over your own drinking behavior and scholastic
achievement. Will/Should schools redirect their recruitment or roommate assignment
policies to try to engineer low-drinking cohorts?

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