Tuesday, August 17, 2010

If a Drunk Penn State Student Falls in an Alley and "This American Life" Isn't There to See It, Does Penn State Still Have an Alcohol Abuse Problem?

I am a little late on this, but earlier this month the Princeton Review Party School Ranking came out. Penn State dropped from  first place last year to third place this year. That mean's that the national spotlight will now shift away from Penn State to the University of Georgia, this year's top school.  We'll have to wait and see if  Old Main's will to deal with the alcohol abuse problem around here , which was dialed up last year after the first place showing in the Party School Ranking, the alcohol related death of freshman Joe Dado, and a revealing portrayal of Penn State's party culture on This American Life,  diminishes now that the public relation problem has been solved to some degree.

It's worth noting the Penn Staters are taking the drop in the ranking in stride.  Here's Jake Wiest a junior architectural engineering major in a letter to the Collegian.
The review relies on a survey that states an average of 325 students per school filled it out. First, we must assume everyone filling this out is doing so in an honest manner, not just to talk up the school's party scene. Assuming this, than a poll of less than 0.8 percent of the student population, a horribly inadequate number, determined our ranking.
I'm not saying that we would've stayed at No. 1 had more people filled out the survey -- perhaps quite the opposite. I'm saying who cares. Both the university and student population should put little stock into this overly hyped and insufficient survey.
Jake echos Penn State Bullshit Artist Geoff Rushton reaction,
"How do you scientifically gauge something like this?" Rushton said. "I don't think you do."


For Rushton, the rankings not only hold no real legitimacy -- they also have zero purpose.

The ranking is not representative of all students, he said, as many students drink responsibly.

"It's kind of insulting to our students, who are very bright, hard-working and dedicated to their studies," he said.
But Jake takes a very different lesson away from this observation about the lack of scientific legitimacy of the ranking,
I say the students should just keep doing your thing; everyone knows we party harder than the University of Georgia and Ohio University anyway.
I've gotta say, I think Jake's got a better grip on the reality here than Geoff does.

I mean it was a couple of those very bright, hard-working and dedicated recent Penn State graduates  that used their talents to come up with this.

During their time here, some Penn State graduates engineered a way to drink liquor without actually tasting anything -- and they say it may become the next social staple for college students across the nation.

Their product is the SLIZ Cup -- a "drinking vessel designed to eliminate the cringe between taking a shot and reaching for the chaser," said Anthony Vella, one of the product's creators.

It's a cup on top, with a straw for the handle.

To get the shot and chaser experience, co-creator Maurio Foire, Class of 2010, said users pour the alcohol into the SLIZ cup, add a non-alcoholic beverage and then drink quickly through the straw before letting the drink mix.


Inventing, marketing and selling SLIZ has been quite the experience, Vella said. The group got the chance to learn hands-on about entreprenuership, meet some interesting people along the way and "probably had too much fun conducting the necessary 'market research' which came with a lot of vodka," he said.
Hey, I know you're curious about the SLIZ Cup, so  here's their Web site.

Anyway, I'll keep an eye on Graham and Old Main this year to see if they slack off in their efforts to deal with Penn State's alcohol abuse problem.

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