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Nondrinkers deal with OU’s drinking culture

At Ohio University, the culture surrounding alcohol and drinking can sometimes be a little pressuring, according to some students. According to College Drinking Prevention, 49.3% of full-time college students ages 18-22 drank alcohol in the past month. With events like “Kegs and Eggs” at Homecoming, Halloween weekend and the monster that is Fest Season, the consumption of alcohol is seen at many social events throughout the year. 

Some students choose to steer clear of OU’s drinking culture, which can affect how they make friends and spend their weekends.

Mariah Murray, a freshman studying early childhood education, said she avoids being confronted with drinking by surrounding herself with people who hold the same values as her when it comes to alcohol. 

“I have friends here that don’t drink so it helps a lot,” she said. “We just stay in the dorms and do our own thing like watch movies or do things that don't involve going out and drinking.” 

Murray said she had friends in high school who drank, which gave her a good mentality of respecting people’s decisions while also staying true to what her own preferences. 

“In high school, one of my peers drank, but I found that happy medium where I can go around and not feel pressured,” she said. 

Ruben Lopez, a sophomore studying political science, said he has never really felt the pressure to drink at OU. Although he has been offered drinks, he said he has never felt the need to drink them in order to be friends with people. He said when invited to social gatherings, he often only goes when the gathering is small and the goal of the event is a conversation rather than alcohol consumption. 

“Since coming to OU, I've never had that peer pressure,” he said. “Yes, people ask me ‘Hey, do you want a drink or something?’ I always said 'no,' but they respected it.” 

Sam Ing, a freshman studying journalism, said although he has friends who drink he has also never felt the need to participate. He said in high school, he was not surrounded by people who drank so he never bothered to try. 

Ing said now that he is in college, when he gets invited to activities involving drinking he usually just doesn’t go.

“Drinking hasn’t really been my thing,” he said. “Never really bothered to think about it. For the most part, my friends drink and whatnot and whenever they invite me to go out, I just decline.” 

Dylan Smith, a freshman studying philosophy and anthropology, said not drinking at OU can sometimes make it hard to feel included in certain activities, especially on the weekends. 

“It can be almost kind of self-deprecating in a way because the majority of people you’re going to meet, especially as a freshman, are going to be pursuing that sort of culture and surrounding themselves with that sort of lifestyle,” he said. “So a lot of the friends that you might make are going to be going out pretty frequently, and for somebody who doesn't participate in that and doesn’t really want to surround themselves with that, it can be kind of lonely at times.”

Smith said he has felt more pressure to drink in college compared to being in high school because of the proximity of everything and how prominent alcohol can be on college campuses. 

“You live at your school,” he said. “Whereas in high school … you live away from your school, and alcohol is so accessible here especially with people getting fakes and stuff. It’s so much more intensified once you get to college and you live on campus.” 

Issy Martin-Dye, a junior studying journalism and publication design, said she has never really felt the pressure to drink, especially since she found friends who hold the same values she does. 

Martin-Dye said the biggest reason for her not drinking is her Catholic faith. She said once she turns 21 she will probably drink in moderation but for now, she chooses to stay away from alcohol.

“I feel like the culture of OU pressures you to drink but within my friends, I found friends where there's no pressure to drink,” she said. “We all don’t drink.” 

She said on weekends she often fills her time with doing fun things like making dinners, going on night hikes, attending events with her church and making art.

“We just get up to a bunch of funny things on the weekends and it’s just not a part of our lives, so I kind of forget about it,” she said.

She said her freshman year the decision not to drink was a little harder to uphold but she is glad she made that decision. 

“I think it was harder at first, it’s not like it's always the funnest option but, I don’t know, I think it’s worth it,” she said. 


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