The National College Health Assessment Survey, or NCHA, is a major survey that attempts to assess the amount and consequences of alcohol use. MSU is one of the many universities that administer the survey each year.
MSU’s 2022 results show that about 80% of MSU students drink or have drank in the past.
Biomedical engineering sophomore Madeline Baker sees herself as part of the 20% of MSU students who don’t drink.
“I do think it's a part of the culture here, but I've never felt pressured to,” Baker said.
Experience architecture sophomore Megan Gleason also said that she doesn't feel particularly pressured to drink.
"Although I’m not necessarily pressured, there's definitely FOMO there," Gleason said. "Like, am I missing out on some of the biggest years of my life? Or is it just something people are portraying?”
The survey found that the average MSU student consumes 3.3 drinks every two weeks, which came as a surprise to many students. Psychology sophomore Kaitlyn Hartl guessed that students drink between 20 to 25 drinks every two weeks. Communications sophomore Logan Smith guessed 20.
The survey included data stratified by gender, which suggested that while more women drink regularly, men who do drink tend to consume more alcohol in a sitting.
0.8% of respondents said they use alcohol daily, which once again surprised students interviewed by The State News. Smith and Hartl both estimated that between 10% and 20%.
The State News also obtained NCHA results from the University of Michigan, Ohio State University and Western Michigan University. Those surveys showed that MSU students' drinking habits are about equal to that of the other schools.
Nearly equal across all four schools are the percent of students who never consume alcohol, the distribution of how many times students report consuming five or more drinks in one sitting over two-week periods and the average blood alcohol contents, or BAC, when drinking.
“It's surprising, but I feel like every school is the same," Hartl said. "People party, people don't party."
A Decade of Decline
Since 2010, when MSU began conducting the survey, students have reported major declines in encounters with police, injuries and forgetting what they were doing while drinking. The survey also finds that the average BAC while “partying” has been reduced by half since 2010.
For this decline, the survey’s organizers cite on-campus programs like the Social Norms Program enhanced planning of university sanctioned events during welcome week, other “celebratory days” and the E-CheckUp-To-Go alcohol self-assessment MSU students are asked to take each year.
The Greek-Life Factor
The average member of Greek life at MSU drinks five or more drinks in one sitting every week, compared to the average non-member, who does so slightly less than once every two weeks.
There are also differences in what the survey describes as “threatening consequences.” Compared to their peers, the average sorority or fraternity member is about twice as likely to forget where they were and what they did, “get in trouble with police,” have nonconsensual sex, have unprotected sex, do something they later regret or injure themselves or others while drinking.
The Full Surveys
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Linked below are PDFs to the full results of each survey:
Michigan State University
University of Michigan
Ohio State University
Western Michigan University
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