UI nets paltry partying rank



By Colleen Loggins

It’s 11 p.m. In the dimly lit beer garden of Station 211, the cacophony of slurred yells fuses with the steady thud of a throbbing base. Smoke wafts up into the warm night air and lingers briefly over the perspiring plastic cups. Girls in miniskirts and stilettos chat amicably with boys in polo shirts and baseball hats. A rowdy cry of “Yeah Champaign!” pierces the air as a boy slams down a drink. It is another Tuesday for students of the University.

In a recent survey conducted by The Princeton Review, “The 2008 Best 366 Colleges Rankings,” the University ranked No. 16 on the list for party schools. Other ranked Big Ten Schools included Penn State University at No. 6, Indiana University at No. 8 and the University of Iowa at No. 12. The top spot was awarded to West Virginia University.

“Pretty much you can come here and go out any day of the week and find stuff,” said Ashley Chamberlain, junior in AHS.

According to The Princeton Review, surveys are conducted using a combination of questions concerning the use of alcohol and drugs, hours of study each day and the popularity of the Greek system. The University also ranks on the “party list” as No. 14 for schools with lots of beer and No. 13 for schools with a major fraternity and sorority scene.

Some people disagree with the rankings. Both Rachel Krause, sophomore in LAS, and Andrew Valencia, freshman in LAS, thought the University should be ranked higher. Danny Scott, freshman in LAS, also disagrees. He has not gone out since first arriving on campus but has an idea of how much partying goes on.

“From seeing it, I guess I don’t think it’s accurate,” Scott said of the rank. “It’s the majority of what campus life is based around, especially at night.”

Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Renee Romano thinks the rankings do not project a positive image for the University and hopes that in subsequent years, the University will be ranked lower on the list.

“No one wants to rank highly on this list, of course, but the truth is, most colleges and universities have a lot of drinking going on,” Romano said.

Romano also said the Student Affairs office attempts to alleviate this issue by putting in a lot of time and effort to work on alcohol abuse prevention and helping students who have substance abuse problems.

Still, some students do not agree that partying is really an issue for the University.

“It shows that we can balance our studies with our many other interests,” said Tom Christl, a junior in LAS.

Others, such as the Champaign Police Department, have a lot to deal with when students decide to party.

“We’re not prudes here,” said Gary Spear, Champaign Police Department crime analyst. “We know that the students are going to have fun… but the vast majority of crimes on campus are alcohol related.”

Spear said that alcohol was a big issue for the police department and that ambulances take people to the hospital almost every weekend because of binge drinking.

One thing is for certain, whether or not the University is ranked highly on the Princeton Review list, people here will continue to party, no matter what.

It’s 2:20 a.m. The last stragglers have cleared out of Station and Tuesday night has come and gone. The beer garden stands silent, bathed in the neon lights of Green Street, waiting until the party can begin again on Wednesday.