Editorial | Campaign offers insight into drinking culture
Published: Thursday, October 10, 2013
Updated: Thursday, October 10, 2013 02:10
There has been buzz around the Hill surrounding the posters plastered all over campus presenting statistics about the drinking habits of the Tufts student body. The recently launched “We Are Tufts” ad campaign, initiated by a group of health administrators and undergraduates, explains that not all students drink, and of those who do, very few let alcohol affect them academically. The posters have featured claims including, “93% of students don’t let alcohol affect their academics,” and, “the majority of Tufts students limit their alcohol intake or choose not to drink.” The campaign delivers an important message: Students don’t need to drink to have a good time or because they see others doing so. It also clarifies that, despite that students may think drinking is a necessary weekend pastime, many students in fact do not drink at all.
The campaign came into fruition at an expedient time. In light of last year’s Winter Bash and the success of this year’s Fall Gala, alcohol abuse was and continues to be an important issue on campus. It is important that students know that drinking is not the only facet of Tufts’ social scene. Additionally, statistics show that September and October contain the most TEMS incidents of the academic year. The creators were wise in their decision to launch the campaign in late August, when incoming students first arrived for orientation.
While the statistics featured in the posters do speak to the good intentions of the campaign, they are very ambiguous. Some students reacted with confusion, curious as to how the ‘93 percent’ statistic was determined and measured, as well as what it actually means when it says that students don’t allow alcohol to affect their academics. Students also may not think that the statistic accurately reflects the drinking culture on the Hill. The campaign, however, serves its purpose by causing students to stop, read and discuss the posters. A campaign that provokes thought is successful in its own right.
Moreover, the tone of the campaign inclines those on the receiving end to welcome its message as constructive rather than another attack on student drinking habits.
Though beneficial to the Tufts community as is, the campaign could further increase its influence by identifying a number of alcohol-free activities that occur on the weekends. There is a pre-existing club called “Another Option,” which hosts a number of events for students who want to have fun without alcohol. By publicizing these events, and those of other groups on campus, the posters could offer alternatives to drinking and partying that students might not have previously known about.
The campaign should also consider meeting with orientation leaders before Orientation Week in future years to encourage leaders to start a dialogue with their freshmen about the school’s drinking culture and to inform them of the number of alcohol-free options in which they can participate on weekends.
Whether or not the people behind the campaign choose to make any changes or additions to it, “We Are Tufts” is a positive step in intracampus dialogue.