Thirteen Bowdoin students have been transported to Parkview Adventist Medical Center due to over-consumption of alcohol since September. According to Tim Foster, dean of student affairs, this number shows that "we are tracking almost identically to last year," when 12 students had been transported by the third week of November.
Yet this year, the numbers rose quickly. In September alone, six first year students were transported to Parkview for alcohol-related reasons. The head proctors of each first year dorm sent an email to the entire class of 2015, in an effort to curb the heavy drinking.
However, the increased number of transports over the past few years does not necessarily indicate that students have adopted more dangerous drinking habits. Foster believes that the rise is due to heightened awareness and caution on the parts of both students and the Office of Safety and Security.
"I think there's even more of a culture of people looking out for one another, and calling when they're concerned," he said.
Director of Residential Life Mary Pat McMahon concurred, explaining that this year has proven that students' peers have been very willing to call for help.
"People are doing a good job looking out for each other on campus. The ResLife duty staff, concerned friends and roommates...people are still making the decision to call for a friend for a wellness check. The chain of communication seems to be going pretty well," she said.
According to Foster, the higher transport numbers also reflect Security's care when checking on intoxicated students.
Foster also noted that a cautious and preemptive community does occasionally mean that a student with a relatively low blood alcohol content will be transported to Parkview.
"I'd rather have the statistics be high and err on the side of caution than not. So I think that's one of the reasons the [transport] numbers are up," he said.
Anissa Tanksley '14, a proctor in Moore Hall, noted that the students' relationship with Security may also contribute to more calls for help.
"Some say the increasing number of transports could be a product of us trusting Security more and being more proactive and I agree with that," she said. "I think it's a really good thing that first years learn that Security is not out to get you."
Though Bowdoin's transport numbers have increased, those at other colleges remain higher.
According to The Colby Echo, Bates saw 44 transports for alcohol poisoning during the 2009-2010 school year.They implemented a ban on hard alcohol in 2001, basing their policy on Bowdoin's pre-existing one. While some disagree with the ban, Foster explained his belief in the policy.
"If we had a policy that allowed hard alcohol to be served at registered events on campus in the same way that beer and wine are currently served on campus, it's pretty easy to envision all kinds of different 'witches' brews' being served when people who are consuming that alcohol don't know what they're consuming," he said.
According to the same Colby Echo article, roughly 300 students were hospitalized at Colby for hard alcohol abuse between the 2004-2005 school year and the article's publication in October 2010. The college enacted its own hard alcohol ban last year.