President Barry Mills agreed with Maine Attorney General Steven Rowe that Bowdoin students could be influential in curbing underage drinking in the Brunswick community when asked in a recent interview with the Orient.

The Maine attorney general's call came at the first of 23 summits on underage drinking in the state on February 28 at Mt. Ararat School in Topsham.

The issue of drinking in high school is "a serious one," and it is important that Bowdoin students get more involved, said Mills.

"Bowdoin provides strong role models who would be entirely helpful [for high school students] to talk to about underage drinking," he said.

He also noted that this is already happening to a degree.

"Bowdoin students are certainly involved in working with young students," especially with sports teams, said Mills

Adolescent boys especially need college-aged men to be role models, said Rowe at the Topsham meeting.

As for underage drinking on campus, when asked if he thinks fewer students should drink on campus, Mills answered in the affirmative.

"We need to do a better job of creating programs for students who do not drink," he said, though he rejected the idea that there is an alcohol divide on campus.

"'Divide' is the wrong word," Mills said.

Mills did not indicate whether Bowdoin Student Government, Residential Life, or the college houses would be best to do such programming for non-alcohol events, and said it is a "college issue."

"We want to create an opportunity for students [who do not drink] to meet others [who do not drink]. We want to let them create their own communities," Mills said.

He said it is also important to understand that many international students approach drinking differently.

However, Mills recognized that, like at many schools, drinking can be a dominant part of the social life at Bowdoin.

"My hope is that if students do drink, they drink responsibly," Mills said.

According to Rowe, "Damage to the brain caused by alcohol is a problem even for college students" since brains are still developing until about age 20.