“Under Four.” This line has become a familiar campaign to all of us on campus. We have all scanned the classroom walls as we tune out our professor and ran across this poster. The message is slapped on every bulletin board, window, and newspaper advertisement. We are reminded on a daily basis that “the average Cal Poly student drinks less than four (drinks) in a sitting.” I have to give credit to the team that came up with this slogan. I mean, I can’t turn a corner on campus without being warned of the appropriate drinking limit, and my God, if everyone else is doing it, then I guess I better follow along, right?
Unfortunately, three drinks in each sitting would probably lead me to a coma by the end of the night. With the constant coverage on this issue, it only made sense that I felt someone was trying to brainwash me, and therefore, I began to question these little posters.
The average Cal Poly student drinks under four drinks in one sitting. Now, the poster doesn’t define one sitting, but I am going to assume that it means each bar you visit. In my experience, students probably hit up two to three bars in one night, maybe more. That equals approximately nine drinks in one night. Now, I’m not a parent, thank God, but I am guessing that I wouldn’t feel too comfortable dropping my child off at college knowing that the average student at Cal Poly quite possibly drinks approximately nine drinks a night, if not more. I’m just not sure this is something we should be bragging about.
Since the campaign began in 2004, students reported a decrease in drinking with 3.9 drinks on average in 2004 and 3.4 in 2006, according to a Cal Poly press release. The survey was conducted on 500 Cal Poly students. If this campaign has been the major contributor to the decrease of student drinking, then more power to it, but I just have a hard time believing that students are picturing the “Under Four” poster before they start their next keg stand.
The fact of the matter is that most of us are going to have to learn the hard way. We are in college, which means we are due for our fair share of hangovers, or worse. For many of us, freshman year was a nine-month blur of experimentation. Still, there has to be a better way to educate students about drinking responsibly. Even now, four and a half years after starting college, I still think about the presentations I saw on sexual assault during week of welcome.
Those presentations make me think twice about walking home alone at night or jogging alone when it is getting dark. Why don’t we have something this effective for alcohol abuse? I just have a hard time believing that students are chanting the “Under Four” motto in their heads as they head for the nearest frat party. How about we work a little more on educating students about alcohol abuse and stop trying to tell them how much they shouldn’t drink.
Brittany Ridley is a journalism senior and Mustang Daily staff reporter.