More Collegiate Trends…


Here’s some more collegiate trends from our friends at the Ivy Jungle…

Gen Y Peaks this Year: This year will mark the largest high school graduating class ever with just over 3 million high school graduates. It will also mark the end of a steady growth in graduating class size that has continued since the early 1990’s. The overall numbers will begin to drop next year. However, the demographics will vary widely based on region. The South and West will continue to grow, with a continued dramatic increase among non-white Hispanic high school graduates. The Midwest and East will begin to see a steady decline next year. Nationally, the number of white graduates will fall by 11% over the next 12 years, while the percentage of minority graduates increases, with a “majority-minority” class expected in the West in 2010 and in the South in 2017. (Inside Higher Ed March 20, 2008)

College Students Dominate the Youth Vote: Young voter turnout has increased steadily since the 2000 election (as have the number of young people of voting age). Super Tuesday saw some states showing two to three times the number of voters under 30 as the last election cycle. Exit polls strongly confirm Barack Obama as the favorite among young people. Among young voters nearly 80% have been college students or graduates. Nearly one in four college educated young voters participated in primary voting, compared with just one in fourteen of their non-college educated counterparts. (NPR online February 28, 2008)

Young Christian Voters: One journalist’s encounter with the more than 2000 evangelical college students at this year’s CCO Jubilee Vonference confirms that young evangelical voters will very likely be found in significant numbers on both sides of the aisle in this year’s national election. Most of the students feel uncomfortable labeling themselves as either a Democrat or Republican. In 2001, 55% of evangelicals ages 18-29 identified themselves as a Republican. According to the Pew Research Center, that number had dropped to 40% in 2007. These young Christians remain strongly pro-life, but also have a high concern for the poor and community development. They also believe strongly that their faith should make them very uncomfortable in wholesale identification with either political party. (Washington Post Online February 22, 2008)

Losing Their Religion: A new study by the Pew Charitable Trust shows that nearly a quarter of Americans now embrace a new religion or opted for no religion since their childhood. That number jumps to almost 45% when switches in Protestant denominations are included. On the whole, almost 80% of the US claims to be Christian. But only 51% now claim to be Protestant. One in four 18-29 year olds claims no religious affiliation. 10% of all Americans now claim to be “ex-Catholics.” Only 4% of Americans claim to be atheists or agnostics. (AP February 26, 2008)

Txt Me Pls: Growing Leaders recently spent time with a number of focus groups of young adults ages 16-24 and asked them how they most like to receive communication. Texts first, email last, was the message for the group. In order of preference, their answers showed: text messages; MySpace/Facebook; podcasts; instant messaging; cell phone; cd/dvd; books and then email. (Growing Leaders Leadership Link March 2008).

Google Religion Quiz: The consumer approach to religion expressed by today’s generation of young adults is perhaps best illustrated by a recent Google ad for a quiz to determine “which religion is right for you?” Unlike generations before which saw religion as a part of heritage and identity, many young people today see it a matter of personal preference, much like finding a suitable haircut or the best flavor of ice cream. Still, most Americans say religion is important to them, with 60% indicating that it is “very important” to them. (Boston Globe online February 29, 2008)

25% of Young Women Infected: Shocking results from a recent study by the Center for Disease Control show that one out of every four girls ages 14-19 has an STD. That translates into approximately 3 million infected girls – about 40% of all girls who admit to having had sex. The infection rate was particularly high among African American girls. The HPV virus was the most common infection. (AP March 11, 2008)

Prescription Drug Abuse on Campus: A study by the University of Michigan reports that nearly 20% of all college students are taking pain killers and other prescription drugs for non-medical reasons. Most obtained the drugs under a legitimate prescription, but then continue to use them to get high. Many students have a false belief that because they are prescription medications, they are safer than street drugs. Overall drug use has dropped among young people, but prescription drug abuse is a new statistical category and is growing. (Reuters March 3, 2008)

The Next Mary Jane: Websites have popped up all over the internet encouraging people to buy the hallucinogenic plant Salvia before it is made illegal by the DEA. Known by names such as Sally D or Magic Mint, the plant from Mexico remains easy to obtain and fairly inexpensive. The leaves are generally smoked, but can also be chewed or made into a tea to drink. The effects are more like LSD and PCP with hallucinations, but last much shorter. Academics and law makers believe it is much more powerful than marijuana and 8 states have already passed laws to restrict its use. A survey of students at San Diego State University revealed only 4% had tried the drug. (AP March 14, 2008)

Hazing Happening on Campus: While almost every college has a formal ban on hazing, more than half of those who belong to student organizations say they have experienced it. From fraternities and athletic teams, to choirs and academic societies, students say hazing is happening on campus. Some forms of hazing such as being forced to drink alcohol or physical harm are obvious, but others regarding public singing or chants, wearing embarrassing clothing, or participating in skits or roasts are not. In fact, 9 out of 10 students who reported participating in behavior that is classified as hazing did not think they had been hazed. The study was conducted by two professors from the University of Maine who studied more than 11,000 students from 53 institutions. (AP March 11, 2008)

Drunkorexia: This new term is being used to describe the increasingly common practice of college students (mostly women) who starve themselves in order to “save” calories in preparation for a night of drinking. While the term has only recently been coined, the problem is not new. Studies show that 30% of young women with alcohol problems also struggle with an eating disorder. Health experts fear the practice of limiting food intake has a number of problems associated with it. In addition to fueling eating disorders, women who drink on an empty stomach are much more likely to become drunk more quickly, suffer blackouts, and could be victim of other physical or sexual abuse in their inebriated states. Most women do not realize that alcohol affects the female body more severely than their male peers. Addiction experts point out that 2 years of excessive drinking has the same effect on a woman as 10 years on a man. (CBS January 23, 2008)

Unofficial St. Patty’s Day: Because St. Patrick’s Day so often fell over Spring Break, a number of bars near the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign began to host an unofficial St. Patrick’s Day to capitalize on student drinkers before they left campus. Concerned over the increase in popularity, campus and city officials have begun discussing steps to force bars to keep out underage patrons, wait until later in the day to open and/or serve alcohol, and limit how drinks are served. For the second straight year the university has sought parental help to curtail drunkenness, by sending letters home encouraging parents to talk with students about their conduct during that weekend. (Inside Higher Ed February 29, 2008)

Spring Break Gone Wild: The popular image of spring break on MTV and other media outlets portrays spring break as a constant mix of alcohol and sex. For those who go on such trips, that can be true. The Journal of American College Health estimates that men who go on such trips consume an average of 18 drinks a day while their female companions drink 10. 83% of women report that they have friends who drank a majority of the nights they were on spring break. 59% report they had friends who were sexually active during that time with more than one partner and most said they had friends who had unprotected sex on spring break. (Total Life Counseling Update March 12, 2008)

Immersed in the Lives of the Poor: A growing trend among short term mission trips, more and more Christian students are joining “immersion trips” in which they spend time living side by side with members of less fortunate communities. These trips are designed primarily as learning opportunities with a greater focus on changing the lives of participants than offering solutions to the poor and needy. In 2005, about 1.6 million Christians participated in a short term mission trip abroad and at least double that number domestically. Organizers of immersion trips say they are designed to provide a chance to listen and practice humility. By starting there, more long term good can ultimately be accomplished. (USA Today March 18, 2008)

Campus Footbaths: The University of Michigan has come under fire as it joins more than a dozen other colleges with footbaths in some public restrooms. The fixtures will accommodate Muslims who practice ritual foot washing as part of their daily prayers. Separation of Church and State groups have decried the measure and some conservative groups have protested the “Islamification” of college campuses. University officials have defended the practice saying that the footbaths are available to all students, not just Muslims. (First Things March 2008)

Watch Ben Stein’s Movie: Perhaps the most famous thing he ever said was, “Bueller? Anyone? Anyone?”, but former speech writer, game show host, and commentator Ben Stein has joined the ranks of Michael Moore in challenging the establishment in a new documentary, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. The movie, which opens on April 18, explores what it considers the dogmatic rule of evolution in science education. While school boards at the elementary and high school levels have debated the role of intelligent design in curriculum, the movie asserts that any break from evolution is not allowed in the world of higher ed. Ben Stein, a Jew, narrates and stars in the film which investigates professors who lost positions for their stance on intelligent design and hopes to invigorate further discussion on college campuses. (Inside Higher Ed March 24, 2008)

Harry Potter At College: No, JK Rowling hasn’t decided to continue Harry’s story into his university years, but on college campuses across the country, students who have grown up on Harry Potter still find the books, movies, and even quidditch interesting. Eight colleges on the east coast participate in a college quidditch tournament (rules slightly modified due to a lack of flying brooms). Potter books are taught on numerous campuses and have begun to show up in religion classes as well where theological themes are explored alongside authors like C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. (CNN March 25, 2008)


~ by Shea Sumlin on April 2, 2008.

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