According to the most recent Monitoring the Future survey, 36% of college students report binge drinking. Even more alarming are the statistics from the survey regarding extreme drinking which revealed 14% of college students have consumed 10 or more drinks in a row at least once in the past two weeks and 5% reported consuming 15 or more drinks in a row.
In 2009, The Century Council partnered with the Ad Council and the American Council on Education to sponsor the American Advertising Federation’s National Student Advertising Competition (NSAC). Building on the wealth of ideas generated by the students, The Century Council launched its multi-faceted Stop Binge Drinking Initiative which included commissioning researchers at Morgan State University to investigate college binge drinking among Historically Black College and University (HBCU) students and to compare their attitudes and behaviors with those of their peers attending majority white colleges and universities nationally.
Both the national survey and the HBCU surveys were completed among full-time students who drink at least once a week and go out socially at least twice a week and highlights that different campus populations have different perceptions about alcohol. Overall the research revealed that fewer HBCU students are binge drinking on a weekly basis in comparison to the students in the national survey (HBCU, 54%; national survey, 64%), but despite the number of students binge drinking a majority of all college students feel they have a good grasp on their drinking limits and always maintain them.
It is clear college students are influenced by a variety of factors when it comes to drinking. More than half of all students cited the next day’s obligations as a leading factor in determining how much they drink in a typical night. Friends visiting from out of town is also a leading cause of students to report drinking more than they otherwise might. While HBCU students are 48% more likely to pre-game at home before going out than students in the national sample, their peers at majority white colleges and universities are 55% more likely to buy the next round even if they are no longer in the mood to drink.
On a positive note, three out of four college students reported socializing with friends, rather than alcohol consumption itself, is the focus of a night out (HBCU, 72%; national survey, 75%), and nearly half of HBCU students (48%) and more than one-third of students at majority white colleges and universities (38%) report they rarely/never end up drunk .
What makes this research unique is that while nearly every aspect of college binge drinking has been studied, until now, no one has completed a thorough review of the issues surrounding dangerous over consumption of alcohol among HBCU students. It is this research that is the basis of a new College Binge Drinking initiative being launched by The Century Council that will team Shaquille O’Neal and Morehouse College to create a new communications campaign to fight college binge drinking among African American students.