Student committee on alcohol awareness reports findings

The Alcohol Issues Ad Hoc Committee (AIAC), a student group established to research alcohol-related issues at Tech, has released its first report on alcohol consumption and education.

In September, a session of the Undergraduate House of Representatives (UHR) discussed the alcohol situation at Tech and how alcohol awareness and education can be improved. Out of this meeting, the SGA-independent AIAC was formed and put in charge of researching alcohol-related issues at Tech.

Initially, the eight-member committee was geared towards finding out more about the Amethyst Initiative, which is a university-level initiative concerned with discussing the benefits and drawbacks of lowering the drinking age from 21 to 18.

The AIAC was also responsible for gathering student opinion on this subject. However, after internal discussions and outside input, the members decided to broaden the scope of the investigation to alcohol education and the presence of alcohol on campus.

“The fact that all of the committee members who have voting rights are representatives in UHR means that feedback is coming directly from students,” said Carlos D’Almeida, third-year MGMT major and chair of the AIAC.

The committee conducted a poll with 582 student respondents, which represents almost four and a half percent of the undergraduate population. Almost three quarters of those who responded were either second or third-year students.

In the report, the committee found that 87.1 percent of respondents admitted to having consumed alcohol before, and of those, 90 percent had consumed alcohol while underage.

Respondents were evenly split on their attitudes toward alcohol education. Approximately 35 percent thought alcohol responsibility programs made no difference, 33 percent believed the programs were not very effective, and 33 percent thought the programs were effective.

The AIAC submitted a resolution to UHR this week to encourage further discussion on the topic of alcohol. The resolution proposed a town hall-style meeting and the expansion of alcohol education initiatives.

“The important thing is drinking responsibly, no matter what age you are,” D’Almeida said. “That’s why we’re trying to get more alcohol awareness programs on campus and make them more accessible to the students.”

“We’re also trying to get the results of this poll out to other universities in Georgia so there can be a wider discussion about this issue, which affects students everywhere,” said Travis Horsley, second-year INTA major and member of the AIAC.