Alcohol And Higher Ed, Wisconsin Health Insurance Report, Looping In Education

Air Date:
Heard On Central Time

Rob Ferrett and Veronica Rueckert look at the effects of alcohol on university campuses, a new report ranking Wisconsin cities on the cost and quality of health insurance, and the benefits of “looping” in education – keeping classes together with the same teacher from grade to grade.

Featured in this Show

  • Researcher: 'Party Schools' No Fun For Community, Risky For Students

    It’s a top 10 list that no college administrator wants to be on: the top party schools of the nation. The University of Wisconsin-Madison makes annual appearances on “party school” ratings in places like the Princeton Review and Playboy magazine, while other Wisconsin campuses sometimes find their way into the top 100.

    Sociologist Karen Weiss, author of the new book, “Party School,” said the fun-loving label comes with a dark side. That includes binge drinking, risky behavior for students and disturbances and crime in local communities.

    Weiss teaches at West Virginia University, which is also seen as a top party school. Weiss said she felt a sense of culture shock when she first moved to campus and talked to students.

    “I was astounded by these crazy stories that they were telling. At first, I thought they making it up. I couldn’t believe that this much was going on,” she said.

    Those stories included massive amounts of alcohol consumption and related injuries. She said students often drink six nights a week.

    “You wonder how they really are able to fit in, squeeze in their academics. And what happens is a lot of them don’t, and so they really only make it thought their freshman year and we lose a lot of them,” she said.

    Weiss emphasizes that not all students are full-on participants in the alcohol culture. She identifies about half of students as “almost irresponsible” when it comes to drinking, and 14 percent as “truly irresponsible.”

    She said those “truly irresponsible” students can cause a lot of mayhem for the local community.

    “When these students get wasted, they seem to lose all sense of empathy for their neighbors or common sense. They lose common sense and they no longer have any respect for themselves and other people,” she said.

    She said communities face litter, vandalism, and vomiting students — and are afraid to let children outside during certain times.

    While there are efforts at universities around the country to turn the tide on party culture, she said the only thing that can work is a massive collaborative effort including university and community leaders, police, and student organizations.

    “It’s just such a strong subculture at this point, with so much tradition involved, it’s really hard to change tradition,” she said.

  • Party Schools: How Alcohol Culture Affects Campuses And Their Communities

    Campuses across the nation, including the UW-Madison, sometimes get an unwanted designation as a top party school. A sociologist delves into the impact of party and alcohol culture on campuses–and how it affects the lives of people who live nearby.

  • Wisconsin Healthcare And Regional Disparities

    A healthcare advocate takes a look at regional disparities in healthcare costs in Wisconsin.

  • Looping In Early Childhood Education

    The Northern Door Children’s Center in northern Wisconsin uses a special early childhood education program called “looping.” An expert from the center explains what looping is and how it’s helped kids in Sister Bay.

Episode Credits

  • Rob Ferrett Host
  • Veronica Rueckert Host
  • Karen Weiss Guest
  • Robert Kraig Guest
  • Karen Corekin Guest
  • Chris Malina Producer
  • Amanda Magnus Producer