By Priya Canzius ‘20
In this first semester of the 2016-2017 school year, seven Scripps students have been sent to the ER for excessive amounts of alcohol consumption.
“While most of the [transported students] have been Scripps first year students, several of them were upperclassmen students,” Sam Haynes, Associate Dean for Campus Life, said.
While this increasing trend of trips to the ER is, according to Haynes, “occurring across the seven campuses,” it is significant to Scripps because more first years this year have been sent to the ER in the past three months than the entirety of last year.
This is notable because it is “significantly more [ER trips] in a short span of time,” Lena Mihret, one of Clark Hall’s RAs said. “But, because this school is so small, a small number [of ER trips] for [others] is a big number for us. [Additionally,] you usually don’t expect it because there are not many events going on. It seems like even when there aren’t events, [trips to the ER are] happening. And that’s what’s concerning.”
However, Scripps encourages its students to alert an authority figure if they or a friend have consumed too much alcohol.
“The College is, of course, concerned about the increase, but students’ safety is the most important thing to us,” Haynes said.
“The thing is, there is usually a trend every school year with any kind of issue,” Mihret said. “There seems to be a lot of something; the response to this is a lot of programming. Right now there seems to be a lot of drinking without knowing limits and unhealthy drinking habits. Bringing awareness to it tends to lower the issue. We just want it to be a bit more visible.”
Although there is no straight answer as to why there has been an increase in unsafe drinking habits this year, students speculate that it could be stress.
“The campus seems more stressed out than any other year that I’ve been here, Mihret said. “I can’t figure out what it is and how it is different from any other year, but it feels different.
“[From a personal example,] a lot of people who don’t usually drink are going really hard,” Clark RA Naomi Shroff-Mehta said.
Scripps has implemented more resources to establish safe drinking habits.
“The mandatory hall meetings [two] week[s ago] were to help ensure that students are aware of resources to help them deal with stress, and to encourage healthy behaviors,” Haynes said. “Students interested in learning more about healthy behaviors and stress reduction can contact the Tiernan Field House.”
Additionally, the RAs held an Alcohol Awareness Carnival on October 27 to ensure student safety on Halloweekend. However, according to Haynes, it is safer to be transported to the ER than to stay on campus.
“If you are a person that’s gotten transported, know that many a student here has gotten transported,” Mihret said. “Know that it’s not some shame you have to carry around; it happens. It happens to the best of us.”
There are, however, ways to avoid getting transported.
“Count drinks, be safe, and reach out if you are stressed,” Mihret said. “We are all feeling it; talk to your RAs, talk to your student affair staff... If there’s something going on, there is a lot of support out there.”
Additionally, there is always an option not to drink.
“There are always a lot of alternative events if there is a party,” Shroff- Mehta said. “But, if you’re going to drink- because we all recognize that that happens- just be safe.”
Because Scripps is a college environment, students’ actions affect the college.
“High risk drinking doesn’t just impact the individual, it impacts the community,” Haynes said. “We look forward to working with students and others in the community on effective solutions.”