Roselli: Finding discomfort in survey’s numbers

Amanda Roselli

The week of October 20-25 was National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week. I applaud both the health center and PASS for addressing the prevalent issue of alcohol abuse on campus – it needed to be done. Many health issues – not to mention awkward mornings-after – can be easily avoided with responsible choices.

In order to get the word out on alcohol awareness, there were a number of posters and fun facts sprinkled around campus, as well as alternative activities, such as CAT’s offerings, to the usual binge-drinking that is synonymous with Hoops Mania and Homecoming.

But certain “fun facts” caught my attention during this National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week for all the wrong reasons. Eating lunch in the Connelly Center, I could not help but notice a huge banner proclaiming that, “Most Villanova students drink responsibly.” I was not relieved. Most? That is sort of ambiguous.

Did you know “83 percent of V.U. students make sure they do not drive when they drink alcohol”? The other 17 percent, you ask? I just hope they do not have their licenses at all and had to omit that question, because I know I do not feel safe on the roads with 17 percent of drunk Villanova students behind the wheel. Thank God “one in seven V.U. students don’t drink in a given week,” except reciprocally, six in seven do. Also, I conducted my own mini-survey and one in seven students I polled drank at least five nights of the week. Granted, I did not have a very large sample size, but that is just my point.

Statistics, my friends, are not very reliable sources of information. How big is the sample size? I do not remember taking the Villanova University Health Lifestyle Survey, although I may have. Also, how honest is everyone on that survey? I can wager that some people under 21 will not accurately report how much they really drink because they may fear consequences.

In some studies, though I do not think in this one, statistics can be skewed to bolster the point of the group reporting them. The health center really would not have any reason to do this. If the health center and PASS wished to raise awareness, they succeeded. If they wish to raise relief and comfort levels, we’ve got a little way to go. Case in point: “71 percent of V.U. students make sure to eat a meal or snack when they drink alcohol.”

The other 29 percent must rely on calories from beer as a source of energy.