In the fall of 2011, the American College Health Association National College Health Assessment II (ACHA-NCHA II) was conducted at Boise State. According to this study, 97.6 percent of students reported doing one or more listed “safe” drinking behaviors frequently when they drank or partied in the past year, including eating while drinking, avoiding drinking games and using a designated driver.
However, 48.4 percent reported they had engaged in any on a list of “unsafe” drinking behaviors in the same time period, including getting in trouble with the police, getting injured and having non-consensual or unprotected sex.
The question has been raised whether or not the majority of undergraduate students at Boise State know how to party safely. According to Lauren Baines, a health educator for the University Health and Recreation Services, the answer is a resounding yes.
“On this report, there is statistics showing safe drinking practices. For instance, 87 percent of our students use a designated driver,” Baines said. “Also, 78.8 percent of our students eat before or during drinking, which is also a good or safe drinking practice.”
While the data from this report is from 2011, Baines is currently in the process of implementing a new survey for fall 2013, due to come out mid-October to late November. According to Baines, these surveys help Boise State officials with alcohol safety initiatives.
“It should be somebody that has zero drinks, and not just one,” Baines said. “That tends to be a misconception that I try to debunk.”
Brittany Lock, a freshman at Boise State studying elementary education, stated that if anything about Boise State makes it a potentially unsafe drinking environment, it would be the risk of drunk driving because Boise State is a dry campus.
“You’re actually traveling distances at Boise State so if people are driving obviously when they’ve been partying, then I would think BSU would be less safe in that way,” Lock said.
Party safety comes down to an individual’s ability to make safety-conscious decisions about drinking. While in general Boise State students know how to handle themselves in party situations, Lock said, “There’s good and bad apples in every bunch.”
There may also be some variation in the drinking dynamics at Boise State based on age and gender.
“Kids here want to drink as much as possible and when they turn 21; it just gets out of control,” said Mitch Culbertson, a junior political science major at Boise State.
Culbertson said in his experience there is a notable difference in drinking habits between men and women.
“When guys feel out of it they’ll stop, and either go home or crash. Girls, from my experience, don’t like to stop drinking once they start,” Culbertson said.
Regardless of these differences, Culbertson thinks there are some basic rules every college student should follow while drinking or partying while attending Boise State.
“If they have any common sense, they won’t take a drink that’s handed to them that’s open. If it’s closed, then it’s okay most of the time,” Culbertson said.
The party atmosphere at Boise State is safe for the most part, Culbertson indicated that, “There’s a few houses I know that people should right out avoid, because it’s bad. Certain party houses are just extremely sketch.”