Thirsty Thursday: UW-Whitewater’s student social climate and the alcohol reputation of campus

April 1, 2015

By Vesna Brajkovic

UW-Whitewater has continually made various “Top-100 Party School” lists for several years.

Currently, according to the annual list compiled by Fiestafrog.com, UW-W ranks 83 out of 100, a low in recent years. In 2013, UW-W was ranked 74, which was a five-spot drop from the 2012 rank of 69.

Despite the drop in rankings, this “party school” reputation lives on, according to an confidential social climate study done by the Royal Purple.

Out of 76 students, 35 students mentioned that before enrolling in the university they heard there was a prevalent drinking culture.

“I heard that it had been listed in the top 100 party schools, which was surprising considering the size of the school,” said one survey participant.

One student heard that UW-W may have even coined the term “Thirsty Thursday.”

Although it’s not clear where the popular term used to describe consuming alcohol on Thursday originated, it is rumored to have been made popular among business students who don’t normally have Friday classes and commuter students who go home on the weekends. Both groups make up a large part of the campus population.

UW-W awarded 633 Business and Economics bachelor degrees, the second highest number only behind those from Letters and Sciences with 685 degrees conferred, according to the UW-W Institutional Research and Planning 2013-2014 report.

Currently there are 2,095 parking passes held by students identified as commuters, according to Information and Parking Services. This number is made up of 1,582 annual and 513 Spring semester commuter parking passes and does not account for commuters who do not utilize parking or any lost, replaced or unused parking passes.

When survey participants were asked how often they are invited to a social event in which drinking is expected, about 35 percent said three times a week with 11.8 percent responding once a month.

“I was invited to these events all the time as a freshman,” said one survey participant. “Now, I’m a lot more isolated from my peers and most of my friends know that I am not into partying, so I usually don’t get invited to these events often.”

The majority of the survey participants identified themselves as “social drinkers.” Twenty-three students identified themselves as “occasional drinkers,” two as “emotional drinkers” and two as “dependent drinkers.”

As UW-W’s “party school” rank drops, its alcohol-related violations increase.

The total number of on-campus liquor law violations that resulted in arrests was 96 in 2013, while on-campus violations that resulted in disciplinary actions or judicial referrals was 712, a six percent increase from the previous year, according to the Annual Security and Fire Safety Report.

The typical UW-W alcohol sanctions for a first violation are a $35 online alcohol education course, disciplinary probation for a minimum of one year and a signed statement of understanding. After a second and third violation (a description of all sanctions can be found at uww.edu in the Residence Life policies section), the fourth violation results in suspension from the university for a period of up to two years.

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