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The Big Q

A dialogue on the big questions college students face. Like The Big Q now on Facebook to stay updated on the latest post and winners.

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  •  Neknominated

    Monday, Mar. 17, 2014

    The first 20 student comments on “Neknominated” win a $5 Yiftee gift to a local business. Use your gift to try out that new flavor of ice cream or spend it on two slices of your favorite pizza. Entries must be received by midnight, Sunday, March 30th, 2014. Subscribe to the blog (by RSS or by e-mail in the right hand column) for updates.

    **DISCLAIMER: All characters and scenarios in this post are fictional.**

    Lawson is a junior at a large public school in California. He is still in touch with many of his childhood friends who now attend other universities around the country. Most of his communication with his old friends is over social media. One day, Lawson gets a notification from one of his friends at a college on the East Coast. In a video called a “Neknomination,” Lawson’s friend shows himself chugging four different types of alcoholic drinks while standing in the trunk of a moving car. His friend has now nominated Lawson to do a Neknomination within the next 24 hours.

    Lawson looks online to research what Neknominations are. He finds out that the new Internet craze, that entails videos of people drinking alcoholic beverages on social media, originated in Australia with individuals recording themselves chugging a beer. The craze has now escalated, with participants trying to do even crazier stunts with booze than their friends who nominate them. He even reads about some deaths that have happened due to the challenge.

    Lawson is faced with a difficult decision. On one hand, he doesn’t want to complete the nomination for many reasons. He isn’t 21 yet and doesn’t want to post a video of himself on social media drinking alcohol, because he is afraid of the repercussions it may have on him while job hunting. He doesn’t know if he can top his friend chugging four alcoholic drinks in the trunk of a moving vehicle. He also has academic commitments within the next 24 hours that will be negatively affected if he attempts a stunt.

    On the other hand, Lawson wants to be a good sport and has always enjoyed competitions like this with his friends. He knows that if he doesn’t follow through with this Neknomination, not only will his good friend never let him live it down, but it will also be broadcast to his large network of friends since the craze all centers around social media.

    Lawson isn’t sure what to do. Should he accept the Neknomination and post a video on social media? Should he try to top his friend’s post or just chug one beer? Is it ethical and safe for students to be playing a game like Neknominate on social media sites? If Lawson goes along, will he be contributing to the escalation of this game to unsafe levels?

    Useful Resources:

    A Framework for Ethical Decision-Making

    Online Drinking Challenge Goes Viral Globally

    Neknominate: 'Lethal' drinking game sweeps social media

    Photo by Danny Howard available under a Creative Commons license.

     

  •  This Town is Big Enough for the Both of Us

    Monday, Oct. 28, 2013

    The first 20 student comments on "This Town is Big Enough for the Both of Us" win $5 Starbucks gift certificates. Entries must be received by midnight, Sunday, November 10th, 2013. Subscribe to the blog (by RSS or by e-mail in the right hand column) for updates. 

    **DISCLAIMER: All characters and scenarios in this post are fictional.**
     
    Steve is a senior at a private university in California. He’s involved with Greek life off-campus and lives in his fraternity’s house. The fraternity just moved to a larger house, next door to a middle-aged woman and her two young children. There are 13 total fraternity brothers living in Steve’s house, and as a result, it tends to get loud even when only the residents are hanging out on the front lawn or in the backyard.
     
    The fraternity has thrown several small events at the new house that have bothered their neighbor. They usually just involve the housemates and a few friends playing drinking games and listening to music in the backyard. Their neighbor has called in noise complaints to the local police department on several of these occasions, sometimes leading to a warning and other times leading to escalating fines.
     
    A few weeks after their last fine, Steve’s fraternity plans and executes a weeklong philanthropy event at their house. They donate all proceeds to several different charities, from cancer research to food banks. One of the week’s events involves teams bringing as much canned food as possible and constructing a creative sculpture out of these cans. The most creative can sculpture wins. Around 200 students show up to the event, which is held in the backyard. No drinking is taking place at the event, but there is music playing and the students are loud while communicating sculpture plans. The cops show up at the event at 7pm and shut it down. They also fine the house $300 for a noise complaint violation. It seems that their neighbor has called in again. 
     
    Was it reasonable for Steve’s neighbor to call in a noise complaint for the event? Do Steve and his housemates need to accommodate their neighbor more, or does their neighbor need to be more accommodating? How can Steve and his house work with their neighbor so they can coexist more peacefully?
     
    Useful Resources:
     
     
     
     
    Photo by marsmet553available under a Creative Commons license.

     

  •  To Snitch or Not To Snitch?

    Tuesday, Sep. 3, 2013

    The best student comment on "To Snitch or Not To Snitch?" wins a $100 Amazon gift certificate. Entries must be received by midnight, Sunday, September 15th, 2013. Subscribe to the blog (by RSS or by e-mail in the right hand column) for updates.

    **DISCLAIMER: All characters and scenarios in this post are fictional.**
     
    Joseph is a collegiate athlete. He used to play three sports in high school: football, basketball, and track. When he came to college, Joseph decided to row crew in order to stay in peak athletic shape. He had never rowed crew before in his life. While many would think that it is a difficult transition for him “on the field,” or in the boat in this case, he is finding it most difficult to transition to life in a college dorm.
     
    Joseph’s crew schedule is such that he has to wake up earlier than the average college student. He often has to be at practice at 6 am. In order to stay alert and perform to the best of his ability, Joseph sleeps early and doesn’t drink alcohol while crew is in season. While he doesn’t have a problem with students drinking alcohol and being drunk in the dorms, he gets annoyed when they are loud and keep him awake at night.
     
    Joseph’s roommate, Greg, doesn’t take part in collegiate athletics. He enjoys staying up late, drinking alcohol socially, and going to parties. As a result, Greg often leaves the room a mess with the smell of alcohol lingering. Greg also tends to wander into the room at late hours and wake Joseph up. Joseph has talked with Greg about trying to stay clean and keeping it down, especially on Friday nights because crew regattas are early on Saturday mornings.
     
    One Friday night, Greg and a few of the other dorm residents are drinking and being loud in the common areas. Joseph can hear them as he tries to sleep to prepare for the regatta in the morning. He sends Greg a text asking him to keep it down, but thirty minutes later they seem to be making even more noise. Joseph calls campus safety and files a noise complaint. As a result, the dorm quiets down but Greg and his friends are caught drinking in the common area and receive fines and community service.
     
    Should Joseph have reported the incident to campus safety? Is it wrong for Joseph to request his dorm mates respect that he has to wake up early to row crew? Does Greg have a right to be upset at his roommate? Do you find that college students are inconsiderate of their surroundings on campus? Do students often treat dorms as a party scene as opposed to a home? 
     
    Useful Resources:
     
     
     
     
     
     
    Photo by Jason Wun available under a Creative Commons license.
  •  The Pre-game

    Monday, Oct. 1, 2012

    The best college student comment on "The Pre-game" wins a $100 Amazon gift certificate. The video should allow you to choose whose story you will follow.  If you have trouble with this feature, you can view the video on YouTube.

    Entries must be received by midnight, Oct. 14. Finalists are selected by likes, so get your friends to like your comment. Subscribe to the blog (by RSS or by email in the right hand column) for updates.

    For this contest, watch this interactive video which allows you to choose what two college students, Ari and Daniel, will do on a night out.  Click on the prompts to make your selection.  At the end, comment here and tell us about a time you faced a decision like Ari's and Daniel's.

  •  The Drinking Age

    Monday, Oct. 3, 2011

    Best student comment on "The Drinking Age" wins a $50 gift certificate.  Comments must be received by midnight Oct. 9. 

    David was always a responsible young adult in high school. He worked hard for good grades. He participated in a number of extra curricular activities. He never drank or did drugs. It was his desire to attend a prestigious college that motivated all of this, and he didn’t want to do anything that would jeopardize his chance at admittance.

    Even still, David’s friends would occasionally ask him why he didn’t party with them, and he always had the same response: It wasn’t a moral abstention, but a legal one. People under the age of 21 aren’t allowed to drink, and he didn’t want to do something he could wait a few years to experience.

    However, now that David’s 18-years-old and in college, he finds himself with a different opinion. He no longer has to worry about getting into his university. He finds himself less concerned with the dangers of high school drinking. He gives more consideration to the idea that he can vote and go to war, yet he’s not allowed to consume alcohol.

    David doesn’t intend to do anything dangerous when drinking, just have a couple beers when he goes out with his new friends. He’s in a relatively safe environment. He plans to drink responsibly. Is there really a problem?

    You may find these resources helpful:

    Drinking Age Pro-Con

    A Framework for Ethical Decision Making

     

    Photo by bunchofpants available under a Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial License.

     

  •  Friends With Benefits

    Monday, Apr. 4, 2011

    Seniors Sarah and Ben, who have been good friends since freshman year, became “friends with benefits” after a party a month ago. They just kind of fell into bed with each other. Over time, though, Sarah has started to have romantic feelings for Ben. She continues for a while in their current arrangement, in the hope that Ben will at some point begin to reciprocate her feelings. Eventually, however, as she comes to realize that a long-term relationship doesn’t seem to be in the cards, she tells Ben that she no longer wants sex to be part of their relationship.

    That weekend, they decide to go to a party together. The beer is flowing freely, and both of them get drunk. As the evening wears on, they end up going home together and hooking up. When she wakes up in Ben’s apartment the next morning, Sarah realizes that she and Ben have had sex even though she had told him she didn’t want to do that anymore. She’s furious with Ben, but he reminds her that they both were pretty wasted.

    Who is at fault? Why?

    Best student response to this case wins $50.  Comments must be posted by April 10 at midnight.  Rules

    Here are some resources that may help: 

    Alcohol and Consent (Dalhousie University)

    Hooking Up (Religion and Ethics Weekly)

    Sex and the Soul (video of Donna Freitas)

     Risk Factors and Consequences of Unwanted Sex Among University Students