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Iowa State president drops in on nightlife

President Steven Leath — who formerly worked as vice president for research and sponsored programs in the UNC system — has started to walk around areas related to campus nightlife, greet students and sometimes intervene in drinking activities if he finds it necessary.

“Everyone shapes up their behavior and doesn’t act so crazily anymore,” said Dan Breitbarth, student body president of Iowa State University.

Breitbarth said the tactic has been an effective addition to the university’s measures to combat binge drinking, like affordable athletic tickets.

“We also have late night programs on Friday and Saturday nights in the union,” he said. “Typically with folks that drink, it’s because they have nothing else to do — so we try to provide them with options.”

Dean Blackburn, associate dean of students and director of Student Wellness at UNC, said the University is examining binge drinking closely with the CORE Alcohol and other Drug Survey.

According to the 2014 survey, 75.4 percent of the participating students indicated they consumed alcohol in the past year, and 39.7 percent reported binge drinking in the past two weeks.

Julia Hu, a UNC sophomore, said binge drinking is an issue on campus.

“I think first of all, there’s not enough negative ramifications,” she said. “Also, the whole atmosphere endorses binge drinking. They think of it as a social achievement.”

Blackburn said in another email that the Provost has commissioned a team of faculty, staff and students to study binge drinking and provide a report on policy recommendations for UNC.

“It’s been a fantastic process over the past several months ... to first see what we think the problems might be and then look at solid evidence-based solutions on campus,” he said.

Blackburn said the commission wants to see why students binge drink and has uncovered anecdotal evidence about stress or awkward social situations that can lead to binge drinking.

“We want students to have better coping skills and resiliency skills so that they may choose other things instead of alcohol,” he said.

Sophomore Alaina Cole said while there are efforts to combat binge drinking, she feels that they are passive, like Student Union movie night.

“(They’re) trying to capture the population that wouldn’t be drinking anyway, rather than take people out of binge drinking,” she said. “(Counseling and Wellness Services) will definitely focus if binge drinking is a problem that is affecting your mental health, but that’s something you have to seek out yourself.”

As for Chancellor Carol Folt showing up at parties, senior Matt Renn said it could be a lot of fun.

“I feel like those who are overage would really love it because that’s hilarious that the chancellor is at a frat party,” he said. “Those underage might run for the hills.”

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