Aiming his message at young students, an official from Boynton Health Services slashed at common misconceptions about college drinking habits Wednesday in a residence hall presentation.
Amelious Whyte is a member of Boynton’s chemical health department. Wednesday evening, Whyte held an awareness session for about 20 students in Middlebrook Hall.
“Freshmen come in with a lack of knowledge about alcohol and fall into that peer pressure,” he said, citing a common attitude among new students: “OK, now I’m in college, and I’ve got to drink.”
However, according to Boynton health statistics, 65 percent of University students consume three of fewer drinks in an average week. Furthermore, 32 percent of University students will not drink at all in an average week.
With that hard information in hand, Whyte and Boynton have started a campaign to erase the myths surrounding drinking. Through posters, buttons and ongoing promotions, they have started to raise awareness at the University.
The idea that “everybody drinks” is false, Whyte said. “We tend to notice those who are drinking, but we don’t pay attention to those of us who aren’t drinking,” he said.
The truth about alcohol consumption in college is much different, he said, identifying ignorance as contributing to the myth.
“Drinking seems to be a problem for freshmen and sophomores who receive all this freedom at first and can’t handle it,” said Tyler Grebe, a freshman in the Institute of Technology who attended the Middlebrook Hall event.
The Middlebrook Hall session was designed to increase awareness of drinking and its consequences among a population with many misconceptions.
“They say, ‘Well, what’s the big deal? We’re not hurting anyone,'” Whyte said. “But they’re not looking at all of the consequences.”
Whyte works to establish the truths about alcohol in relation to a college campus.
“First and foremost, the drinking age is 21,” he said. “We have to stress that right away.”
Whyte continued, “I try not to send mixed messages. If you choose to drink, you need to be responsible, and part of that is observing the law.”
While Whyte discourages underage drinking, he still stresses responsibility for anyone who is in a drinking situation.
The key to being a responsible drinker, says Whyte, is knowledge. “All of us, whether we choose to drink or not, need to know the basics of alcohol.”