More Collegiate Trends…

Here’s some more trends in Student Ministry, Culture, & Higher Education from our friends at Ivy Jungle

Drinking Age Discourse: More than 100 University Presidents made headlines by suggesting the drinking age should be moved from 21 to 18. The Amethyst Initiative began seeking support from college presidents two years ago hoping to provoke debate about the national drinking age. Proponents of Amethyst say that the culture of binge drinking is driven in part by the need for students to drink secretly when they are under 21. Mothers Against Drunk Driving has criticized the movement stating that such a move will increase drunk driving accidents and move the drinking culture of college into high schools. Research has shown than more than 40% of college students report at least one symptom of alcoholism and more than 500,000 are injured each year in alcohol related accidents. (Chicago Tribune August 19, 2008)

Social Norms to Decrease Drinking: A six year study at the University of Virginia has shown some success for their social norms campaign to curb alcohol abuse. The social norms approach attempts to give students a more accurate idea of how much most of their classmates actually drink. Most students overestimate their compatriots’ alcohol consumption. UVA students exposed to social norms approach to curb drinking had experienced fewer negative results of drinking including: missed classes, encounters with campus safety and unprotected sex. (Inside Higher Ed August 12, 2008)

Living in Guyland: Sociologist and gender scholar, Michael Kimmel has published a new book that investigates the dominant male culture on many college campuses where young men engage in binge drinking, hazing, and abusive behavior toward women. In his book, Guyland: The Perilous World Where Boys Become Men, Kimmel stresses that Guyland is both a developmental stage and a social space (often found on campus). Students are taking up to a decade longer to mature than their parents or grandparents did. He also thinks that men are confused by the equality and success women are finding on campus and many retreat into a misogynistic place where a “guy code” dominates that is anti-intellectual and dismissively sexist. He also states that Guyland is a predominantly white phenomenon as the majority of hooking up, hazing, and binge drinking are perpetuated by white males. He also thinks men need to be challenged to a higher bar of conduct and approach to life. (Inside Higher Ed August 21, 2008)

Bartering Sex: A recent survey of students at the University of Michigan found that a number of undergraduate college students are willing to trade sex for favors or gifts. 27% of men and 14% of women not currently in a committed relationship had offered the gifts or favors in exchange for hooking up – from help studying, to laundry, to tickets to a football game. (CNN August 25, 2008)

Dogmatic Environmentalism: Physicist Freeman Dyson argues that environmentalism has replaced socialism as the new secular religion. Writing in the New York Times Review of Books, Dyson describes environmentalism as a “religion of hope and respect of nature.” Environmentalism sees waste as sin and green living as the path to righteousness. While he finds the religious ethic sound, he also fears that the dogmatic belief in global warming as the ultimate threat to the planet may short circuit important discussion. (Touchstone July/August 2008 p. 51)

Activism over Protest: Many students claim that activism isn’t dead on campus, but that it looks much different from previous generations. Sit-ins and campus protests are not how this generation of students chooses to activate its social conscious. Instead, they have started recycling stations, given up trays in the cafeteria to conserve water, and champion causes of international justice and poverty. One professor at the University of St. Thomas Center for International Studies sums up the generation as one that recognizes that all human problems will impact them and they have a role to play in addressing it. (Houston Chronicle August 10, 2008)

Graduates Prefer Green Jobs: Given a choice, four out of five college students and recent graduates say they would prefer to work for an environmentally friendly company. 81% of those surveyed say they would prefer to work for a green-friendly company, with nearly as many saying they would choose a job offer from a green company over another company if given the option. Currently, 16% of those surveyed intern for an environmentally conscious company. Experience Inc has created an online community, Experience Green to help educate students on environmentally friendly job options. ( August 4, 2008)

Younger Evangelicals: Some secular experts are shocked to find schools like Wheaton (IL) taking significant steps toward a green campus. Among the 300 Christian schools in the nation, more and more are finding students want the school to support their own commitments to social justice. Christian college students are very likely to engage in community service and disaster relief. They care about topics such as divorce, racism, and homosexuality. They still hold conservative stances on sex and abortion, but are more open to public discourse on challenging issue once thought taboo in such settings. ( August 18, 2008)

Most College Grads Return Home: According to, 77% of college graduates moved back in with their parents last year. That number is an increase from 73% the previous year and 67% the year before that. The economy is often cited as a main reason to move back in with mom and dad. Students today have close relationships with their parents and do not seem to have a stigma around moving back home after college. (San Jose Business Journal August 4, 2008)

Community College Boom: In 2007, more than one third of all college students were enrolled in a two-year institution. While official numbers have not been released for the 2008 academic year, community college leaders expect that last year’s numbers are at least 10% higher than the 6.2 million students enrolled in 2007. This year will be even higher. The weak economy, new academic programs, and increased recruiting all receive credit for the enrollment increase. (Inside Higher Ed August 22, 2008)

College Degrees Losing Value: People with a college degree will still earn greater pay than those without their BA. However, after decades in which wages outpaced inflation, salaries for those who went to college did not grow in the last year once figures were adjusted for inflation. Adjusted wages in 2007 did not increase from 2006 and were actually 1.7% below those of 2001. College educated labor is much more plentiful as more students have completed degrees. Those with professional and doctoral degrees have seen their adjusted incomes continue to increase. (Wall Street Journal July 17, 2008 D1)

Religoulous: This fall, Bill Maher will release a “documentary” on religion. The “Politically Incorrect” host has never masked his dislike of organized religion. The film, from the director of Borat, traces Maher as he interviews people about their religious beliefs and challenges their faith. Religulous (a combination of religion + ridiculous) will appear in theaters on Oct. 3. ( August 26, 2008)


~ by Shea Sumlin on August 28, 2008.

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