In social psychology, there are phenomena known as prescriptive and descriptive norms. For example, a prescriptive norm is the fact drinking alcohol is not legal until age 21, but the descriptive norm is the knowledge that every Thursday night, you will most likely find underage drinking in college towns.
It’s unavoidable: drinking in college is more of a norm than an exception. According to the Washington Post, more than 80 percent of college students drink and almost half reported binge drinking.
The simple truth is, as students venture out of their hometowns and into college, they’re entering a period in their lives where exploration is imperative. The majority of them will experiment with alcohol as a part of that exploration.
The University does attempt to educate students on responsible drinking before they arrive on campus. But with the popularity of binge drinking, the warnings universities try to instill often go ignored.
This board has argued before that the drinking age should be lowered but it also acknowledges there are several flaws in that solution. The punishments for being caught violating the alcohol policy of the University are harsher, but stricter punishments are not likely to lead to long-time behavioral change.