The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

The Independent Student Newspaper of St. John's University

The Torch

Students reveal opinions on dry campus policy

Long gone are the days when alcohol consumption was allowed on campus. Many don’t know that St. John’s had an on-campus bar before the residence halls were built, when the university was just a commuter school.

The Rathskellar was a staple in many St. John’s alumni lives during the seventies and eighties before being officially shut down in the nineties.

According to St. John’s Director of Media Relations Elizabeth Reilly, the university’s efforts to maintain a drug and alcohol free community for students is directly in compliance with federal, state and local laws.

In order to maintain this ‘dry-campus’ environment, “The Office of Student Conduct employs both educational and punitive responses to violations of the Alcohol Policy,” said Reilly.

For junior Carlos Ramirez, the university’s ban on alcohol was not something that affected his decision in applying to the school.

“I came here when I was 24 so I had already lived through most of my party years before I got here,” Ramirez said.

Sophomore Ruben Rozo didn’t know St. John’s was a dry campus until he started attending the university.

“People are constantly complaining about the dry campus,” Rozo said. “It is what it is, for those who don’t drink they don’t have to worry about. And those who do, have to be smart because the consequences can be pretty intense if you get caught.”

The university offers different punishments and fines for students who are caught disobeying the law. For minors, there are fines, community service and enrollment in alcohol awareness programs. For those who are over 21 and supply alcohol to a minor, they could face $1000 in fines and possible imprisonment.

According to Harvard School of Public Health, “Students at ban colleges were 30% less likely to be heavy episodic drinkers and more likely to abstain from alcohol.”

Despite all of the warnings, some students can’t help but feel disappointed when they realized that the idea they had of what college would be like was not a reality.

Freshman Hillary Tejeda came to St. John’s looking for that college experience that was always portrayed in movies and television shows.

“It’s not that I came to St. John’s to party and go crazy, but I grew up with an expectation of what the college social scene was like,” Tejeda said. “When I got here, it was not anything at all what I thought college would be like.”

For Ramirez, there were other things that deterred him from partying too hard during the semester. “You’re paying way too much money to just blow it on one party. You’ll most likely be 21 by the time you graduate, party then when you don’t have to worry about midterms and finals.”

Apart from the costly effects that alcohol consumption can have on grades, there is also the matter of developing a dependency to alcohol at a young age.

In fact, according to the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, “youthful drinking is associated with an increased likelihood of developing alcohol abuse or dependence later in life.” Not to mention that, “underage alcohol use is more likely to kill young people than all illegal drugs combined.”

St. John’s Wellness Education and Prevention Services offers students the tools they need in order to make more informed decisions regarding alcohol.

Through their online AlcoholEdu for college students, they look “not to preach, but rather educate students about alcohol and its effect on the mind and body.”

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