UWO disputes No. 2 rank for alcohol consumption

Lydia Westedt, Assistant News Editor

“In 2016, the Oshkosh-Neenah area was ranked as the No. 2 drinking city in the United States, according to an article by CBS. Oshkosh was a close runner-up to Appleton, which was ranked at No. 1.
The article said in the Oshkosh-Neenah area, 26% of adults reported that they drink in excess, and 44.6% of driving deaths involve alcohol.

An article from USA Today said Green Bay ranked No. 1 in 2017, putting Oshkosh at No. 6. Wendy Seegers, staff counselor and AODA coordinator at the UW Oshkosh Counseling Center said these statistics aren’t very accurate.

“I wouldn’t put much stock in that,” Seegers said. “You have to be really careful when looking at rankings like that because you don’t know what their criteria were. I usually find most of those to be fairly ridiculous.”

Seegers said she doesn’t see much difference in the amount of alcohol consumed on the UWO campus.

“I wouldn’t say this campus has more of an issue than other campuses,” she said. “Some students engage in high-risk drinking, and we have a lot of students that don’t.”

The UWO Counseling Center is located on the second floor of the Student Success Center and provides a place of inspiration and guidance for the complete wellness of all students, according to their website.

“The Counseling Center’s primary job is to support students and help them feel good and function well,” Seegers said.

Seegers said the Counseling Center see’s many students who visit for help with anxiety and depression and offers programs that give students strategies to manage their stress.

We do individual counseling of course, lots of group therapy, we do different types of workshops,” Seegers said.

Seegers said that excessive drinking can impact student’s academic success.
“If somebody’s getting drunk a couple times a week, it’s probably going to have some negative impacts in their life somewhere,” Seegers said.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, an estimated 1,825 college students die from alcohol-related deaths each year. The NIAAA said that in 2015, 13.4% of people ages 12 to 20 years old reported binge-drinking in the past month. Over 37% of college students ages 18 to 22 years old have reported binge drinking in the past month.
UWO senior Haley Reeson said she has felt pressure to drink while at UWO.

“It’s definitely a social thing,” she said. “If you don’t drink, you’re lame, you don’t get asked to go out again. It kinda sucks when you just want to stay in and watch a movie.”
By the time students get to college, Seegers said they have already learned to navigate saying ‘no’ to alcohol.

“Students have had to make decisions about their choice to use alcohol in middle school and high school,” she said.

The NIAAA estimates that in 2010, alcohol misuse cost the United States $249 billion dollars. According to the NIAAA website, “Three-quarters of the total cost of alcohol misuse is related to binge drinking.”

Seegers said she believes alcohol-related issues during the annual UWO Pub Crawl appear to be improving.

“It is my understanding that there’s been a significant decrease in property damage and those types of things than there used to be,” she said. “My understanding is that they have very little of that during Pub Crawl now.”

University Police ticketed 25 people for underage drinking and four people were arrested for OWIs last weekend during the annual fall Pub Crawl.

Since Sept. 1, 2019, UP has responded to 81 underage possession violations, 12 OWIs, nine ID violations and one open intoxicant violation, according to the UP crime clery found on their webpage.