When it comes to alcoholic consumption, Towson is just as guilty as any other college campus in America.
As the number of students enrolled increases however, the alcohol violations are sure to be on the rise.
Emily Sears, the manager of substance education, treatment and prevention services here at Towson, spoke to the MCOM 257 class about the dangers of alcohol and marijuana while informing them about her clinics she holds on campus.
“I like to think I have great relationships with students.” Sears said. “They are pretty open to telling me what’s the latest trends and what’s going on.”
Emily Sears has been working in the field of substance education for eighteen years now and has been in the counseling center on campus since 2007.
Now what would you think the biggest problem regarding alcohol on campus would be? It may surprise you, but the most alarming activity being performed by students is pregaming.
Pregaming is when a student “gets ready” to go out to the bars or party scene by drinking multiple beers to become “buzzed” before they leave. Unfortunately, most students don’t even make it out the door.
Despite the fact that alcohol abuse is quite prevalent on campus, not everybody is convinced it is as bad as people claim. “I don’t think alcohol abuse is that bad at Towson compared to the other major universities in Maryland.” Junior transfer Phil D’Agnese said. “I feel that the Residence life staff does a good job of preventing underage drinking around campus.”
Most of the time, students who get caught are found in the residence halls and must get referred to the Office of Student Conduct and Civility Education before getting sent to Ms. Sears’ substance abuse clinics. These clinics include a Basics Program, 12 hour program, and a grueling 26 week program.
The Basics program is an individual intervention based on motivational interviewing, while the other two programs are in groups of four to sixteen students at a time. Along with getting to partake in her sessions, the guilty student’s parents also get a call and usually that’s more disheartening to the student than the sessions are.
Along with everything else the students face, there is a process the school takes depending on previous offenses. First time offenders receive one semester probation, a second time earns you a two semester probation and third time offenders are put on probation for the rest of their Towson careers. If your caught with a fake id, you will receive a $100 fine and community service duties.
Since most of the students who are reported are Freshmen and Sophomores, this parental call is a very scary punishment considering most kids were living with their parents only weeks prior to the incident. The fact that they are underage drinking is a major disappointment to a majority of households.
The most common times for student drinking is when they first arrive on campus for the fall and spring semesters as they celebrate their freedom from their parents’ watch back home. This is a major problem because over the break, their alcohol tolerance decreases which makes it much easier to get alcohol poisoning.
“It feels like it occurs the most . . . in the wintertime . . . that’s when people stay inside all the time because there’s nothing really to do outside.” Said Sophomore Trey Happel. “They just drink more and party a lot more.”
So next time you decide to say yes to the booze, make sure that you are responsible in doing so, the consequences can be dire if you don’t.