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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

NSW features revamped alcohol seminar

<ent Week’s (NSW) programming, featuring talks to new students, are key messages to get the new classes acclimated to life at Carleton. “These talks are the way we communicate what we want our campus communities to look like,” said Emily Clark, ’17 and NSW Program Assistant. This year, NSW featured a new presentation around alcohol use, What’s Your BAC? Although seminars comparable to What’s Your BAC? have been around for a while, there were noticeable changes made to the programming this year. The NSW programming is altered each year as more effective ways of communicating the intended messages emerge. This year, this desire transformed The Buzz, the alcohol seminar from 2015,to What’s Your BAC?, where “BAC” stands for “Best Available Choice.”

Along with this new title came a fresh approach to the way alcohol is discussed with first-year students at Carleton. Lucy Friedman-Bell, ’19 and NSW Peer Leader, said that last year’s alcohol talk was presented with a tone that appeared to assume that everyone was going to drink. According to Friedman-Bell, however, this year, theprogram took a stance of “it’s okay if you do drink, it’s okay if you don’t drink.” Although it was made clear that it was okay not to drink last year, Friedman- Bell said that there was more emphasis on it this year.

“[The programming] achieved what they were trying to get at which was to not persuade people one way or another,” Friedman-Bell said. Clark, junior, agreed. Clarke said that in previous years, “The Buzz was responding to campus culture.” But this year, the focus was on shifting campus culture altogether. Friedman-Bell said that “in trying to change the alcohol culture [at] Carleton, they took a step in the right direction.”

Clarke also said that What’s Your BAC? “shifted from being mostly about Carleton policy to more experiential” by incorporating “real-life Carleton experiences.” She said that people found that The Buzz wasn’t relatable enough and the incorporation of the stories helped fix that. Despite these efforts, however, Friedman-Bell said that the seminar may not have accurately reflected Carleton’s drinking culture, giving the freshmen a different perception of party culture than actually exists. She said that this problem could be fixed if the presentations gave a more realistic look at drinking culture, as they had done in previous years.

“I do think it is good to be more upfront about the drinking culture,” said Friedman-Bell. More changes were also seen in regards to online courses the freshman class took. Among other things, these courses focused on issues of drug safety and consent. In addition to AlcoholEdu and Haven, this year’s freshman class also took Marijuana-Wise. In previous years, the topics taught in AlcoholEdu, such as recognizing a standard drink, staying safe, and helping others, overlapped with what was taught in The Buzz. Now, with What’s Your BAC?, alcohol talks at NSW have diversified to show that options for both drinking and not drinking are available to Carleton students

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