The Digital Journalism Blog

The Art of Underage Drinking

By Evan Wixom

Bradley University is known for its academic strength, but is also known for something you probably won’t find in any publication: Bradley’s party scene. And the drinking. And the frats. Oh god, the frats. I attempt to delve into the underworld of drinking on campus, if it’s a problem and if Bradley is really any that much different than any other college.

“What else is there to do?”

College is an interesting time. Young people caught in that awkward spot between being a kid in their parents’ house and being a full-blown adult out on their own. This leads to a lot of experimentation, which most of the time leads to consuming large amounts of alcohol, ranging anywhere from vodka to beer.

“It’s just what college kids do,” said Ben Gorgan, junior electrical engineering major. “Especially in place like Peoria where there really isn’t that much stuff to do, or at least us in college don’t think there’s much to do.”

Peoria isn’t exactly what you would call a “college town” by any means. Plus, since the school doesn’t allow freshmen to have cars, it creates a sort of “Bradley bubble” where freshmen are literally stuck on campus if they don’t know anyone with a car.

It’s also pretty easy to get your hands on alcohol on campus, according to a freshman who wished to remain nameless.

“It’s super easy to get alcohol on campus,” he said. “Plus, that liquor store at campus town is a joke. As long as you have a nice rack you can buy booze at that place no problem.”

Interesting… well how do you transfer it?

“Usually just in book bags,” he said. “Bottles are the easiest. Cases can be pretty tricky though. That’s why me and my friends usually just go with a bottle; easier transport.”

“I don’t think Bradley is any different than any other college in terms of the amount of drinking that takes place,” said Kevin Lemke, junior electrical engineering major. “You go visit ISU, Western, anywhere and it’s the same, if not worse over there. I personally don’t think it’s that big of a deal.”

Still, Bradley goes pretty hard.

According to the Bradley Police Department, the Bradley student body has been issued a total of 169 alcohol-related tickets this school year (since move-in day August 22) this accounts for a grand total of 3.38% of the total undergraduate student body. This number is obviously skewed; even though there is no way to prove it, some of those 169 tickets were definitely to repeat offenders.

Are those numbers higher compared to other schools? I wish I knew. Unfortunately I don’t. I had originally intended to compare these numbers with Butler University in Indianapolis due to both schools having relatively the same student enrollment and percentage of undergrads in Greek life, but their police department’s website was very sporadic in posting reports to their crime log so I ended up ditching the idea altogether.

“The drinking here at Bradley isn’t even close to the level it is at Western,” said Emily Cagan, a student at Western Illinois University. “I mean, I guess it’s just two different kind of styles. At Western it seems they have whole streets dedicated to partying, while at Bradley it’s more about the frat parties and it just feels like a lot more suppressed than at Western. That might be just because it’s a public versus private school,” she said.

While Bradley does have a robust 33 percent of its undergrads in Greek life, new rules put in place this semester have attempted to limit the effects of frat parties and underage students drinking at them. You’ll learn in my podcast that at least one member of Greek life thinks the opposite is true.

At the end of the day, whether or not Bradley tries to buckle down on underage drinking on campus, it will most likely persist.

The freshmen who wished to remain anonymous put it eloquently, “What else is there to do?”

Former Rule Breaker Shares Her Secrets

Me and my guest enjoy a little Sunday Fun day with some classics of hers

Life After Moratorium

Greek member Scott Roth talks the Moratorium, its after effects, and if fraternities and students really care.

Alcohol-Related Run-ins with the Law by the Numbers

All the tickets issued by the BUPD this school year dealing with alcohol here


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