Binge-Drinking Rates Are on the Rise

Has UGA fixed its party school image? Third year off Princeton Review’s top party schools list after years of dominating

Once upon a time, the University of Georgia dominated the Princeton Review’s top party schools list, even making it to No. 1 back in 2010. But for the past three years, the Dawgs have been nowhere to be seen.

The party schools ranking is part of the Princeton Review’s 2019 “Best 385 Colleges” book, which features survey data from 140,000 students at 385 schools. After compiling the survey data, analysts create 62 different lists based on student experiences.

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“Schools on the ‘Party Schools’ list are those at which surveyed students' answers indicated a combination of low personal daily study hours (outside of class), high usages of alcohol and drugs on campus, and high popularity on campus for frats/sororities,” according to the report.

In 2010, when the Georgia school was ranked the top party school in the nation, university leaders were not pleased. 

“UGA has been on the party school list for a while, but it’s one we prefer not to lead," spokesman Tom Jackson said in a statement. “We’d rather focus on the Green Honor Roll listing as a top environmentally conscious campus or the top 50 ‘Best Values' listing.”

» RELATED: What's the best college in Georgia? Depends who you ask 

The Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last year published research about the long-term effects of heavy drinking, common at schools known for party culture.

According to the study, more than 37 million Americans (or 1 in 6) reported binge drinking (four or more drinks in a setting for women; five or more for men) approximately once per week in 2015.

In fact, binge drinkers on average consume seven drinks in a single setting. 

But the habit is on the decline at some colleges, including at UGA.

According to a previous AJC report, UGA drinking rates have decreased over the past five years, and about 55% of incoming students in 2018 identified as abstainers or non-drinkers.

“Parents may think they are the last people their kids will listen to when it comes to drinking but all evidence says teenagers do listen to their parents on this,” Britany Newton, coordinator of Voices for Prevention and advocate for substance abuse prevention, previously told The Atlanta Journal Constitution. “Have those conversations with your kids about going to a party and if a keg shows up at a party and they are uncomfortable, establish a code word so parents know when their kids want to be picked up.”

» RELATED: Even one drink per day can increase your risk of cancer, study warns

This year, the Princeton Review named Syracuse University in New York, the University of Alabama-Tuscaloosa and the University of Delaware the top three party schools in America.

While no Georgia college made it to party central, two actually ranked in the Review’s competing category, the “Stone-Cold Sober Schools.

Both Agnes Scott College (No. 14) and Berry College (No. 17) made the list of 20, suggesting the schools involve “a combination of high personal daily study hours outside of class, low usages of alcohol and drugs on campus, and low popularity on campus for frats/sororities.”

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