During the two-hour Alcohol Summit organized by the Alcohol Team (A-Team) last Friday, approximately 60 first years and sophomores discussed alcohol-related issues with members of the A-Team and Peer Health.

According to an Orient article from April 2011, the A-Team launched the event in spring 2010  in response to a high number of transports preceding Ivies that year, and has presented the summit every year since. 

As of last weekend, there have been four alcohol-related transports on campus this fall. This is the lowest number in recent years—the first two months of the school year brought seven transports last year, 12 in 2011, and 13 in 2010, according to a November 2012 Orient article.

Six student leaders discussed the role alcohol has played in their Bowdoin social lives on a panel moderated by A-Team co-chair Duncan Taylor ’14.  Following the panel, members of Peer Health and the 18 members of the A-Team facilitated breakout discussions with groups of underclassmen. The Summit itself was closed to Orient reporters.

 “At my high school, I was used to everyone being totally against drinking,” said attendee Josh Ellis ’17. He said he found the focus of this event to be not on abstinence but on promoting safe and healthy choices.

“First years in general seemed to really enjoy the Summit and get something meaningful out of it,” said Taylor.

Laura Plimpton ’17 said that she valued the chance to see behind the curtain of upperclassmen culture.   

“It was sort of unexpected because other than the social house parties or sports team events, it’s hard to understand what upperclassmen do,” said Plimpton.

Avery Loeffler ’15, a member of the A-Team, helped facilitate one of the tables of first-year students. Discussion focused on the social role of alcohol, changes students would like to see made in the social scene, and what students think about social life here.

“I had a really great group of first years and we were talking about the social scene and what we like and don’t like about it,” said Loeffler.

The panel included students who drink as well as those who do not. A-Team members shared personal stories, an aspect of the event which attendees said contributed to its productivity.

“I think this was an incredibly successful event. I hope that the dialogue around alcohol use at Bowdoin and the social scene in general continues to happen outside of the Summit,” said Taylor.
“I don’t know if it will necessarily change [my behaviors],” said Plimpton. Nevertheless, she said it will “give me a new perspective.”

A Spring 2012 alcohol survey distributed at nine of the 11 NESCAC schools reported 83 percent of Bowdoin students drinking before their 19th birthday, suggesting that most students begin drinking before college. In the survey, 42 percent of students said they drank occasionally and 41 percent drank often. Nineteen percent responded that they had been criticized for drinking too heavily.

The A-Team is sponsoring monthly movie screenings of new releases with the Student Activities Office in Jack Magee’s Pub. The first movie is December 6 at 9:30 p.m.  

Correction, Friday, November 15, 2:15 p.m.: The original article stated that there have been five alcohol-related transports so far this semeter. There have actually been four.