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College Drinking

My name is Cara McCarthy and I am a senior at the University of Nevada, Reno. I will be graduating in December of 2016 with my bachelor's degree in Criminal Justice, and a minor in Religious Studies.

I am currently an intern at Intercept Offender Monitoring. Working there I have learned with hands on experience about the importance of monitoring for alcohol and drugs. I interned with the Washoe County Public Defender's office (Ryan Sullivan, Justin Champagne and Tobin Fuss) assisting them during the 72 hour video arraignments at the Washoe County Jail. I also interned with Judge Pearson at Reno Justice Court during the fall 2015 semester sitting in on specialty courts and did research primarily on opiate withdrawal. Once I graduate with my undergraduate degree I plan on getting my Master's degree in social work and pursuing law school in hopes to become a judge one day.

Being a current university student I am surrounded by many underage students who brag about drinking. Unfortunately many of these students are drinking in class and it seems that their main focus is alcohol and where the next party is going to be. Students do a great job at keeping drunken incidences hush hush from the university and the administration. My personal opinion is that the university doesn't see a problem here primarily due to the lack of police presence on campus during the day. I feel the administration is naïve to believe drinking among students only happens at night when clearly that is not the case. In my three semesters at UNR I think I have seen an officer on campus only four times.

One day I was sitting in the library during finals week when two girls sat down next to me. One of the girls said to the other "I should be done with my test at 5:00pm and then we can go home and open that last bottle of wine I have. " These girls were about 22, but never the less, they were planning on celebrating not to mention she stated "her last bottle of wine".

What about these parties among peers who think that it's healthy competition to play games like beer pong (chugging contests) or flip cup. These games and attitudes are dangerous. Is this arrogance or just a need for attention? So many of these students believe they will never get caught. They think they are invincible. Movies today play a crucial role in our drinking culture. Movies show us when we break up with someone or have a rough day that a glass of wine will make things better. According to one UNR student I talked to, beer is the go to drink for guys, it is the "manly" drink. I believe the logic most of these students have about drinking is that it is a "wright of passage" an excuse to give themselves permission to drink. Call me old fashion but lack of discipline and an overwhelming desire to be cool in front of your peers seem to be one of the main factors in student alcohol consumption. Drinking within the student community probably will never go away but I think the university can lower the numbers by a tighter police and administrative presence. If students knew they would get caught for underage drinking or public intoxication I feel it would lead to a more sober campus. It should be impossible for a minor to buy alcohol but considering two in five students have fake ID's it makes it a little easier to get away with. However, I think cashiers should be able to identify a fake ID, so they should bump up training in liquor stores. There should definitely be a bigger presence of police at football games and checking for ID at tailgate parties. It would be nice to see better advertised campus events. Giving the students something to do when they have nothing to do would eliminate their need to find something to do. Personally, after hours of studying and cramming for a test, the last thing I want to do is stumble around drunk and wake up vomiting. Instead I think I would rather have a piece of my favorite cheesecake or sleep for ten straight hours.

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