Charged with resisting

The idea of implementing more lectures and programs which include intervention on drinking while on college campuses sounds easy enough but some resistance may hold back this idea from emerging. The problem with implementing this idea is that faculty and staff would have to do some research on how effective some of these programs are and if they actually work. Faculty also would have to schedule these programs in, and figure out who is going to provide the speech/ lecture. Multiple other things have to occur for this to actually happen but to make it brief the real resistance on implementing these programs and lectures is TIME and MONEY.

Other resistance comes from a different source which doesn’t include institutions but individuals. Students are the greatest resistance to these programs. One of the challenges of introducing these programs in attempts to reduce college drinking problems is the variety of the different groups and subgroups to be addressed and their diverse agendas and needs. Students identify alcohol as freedom and its their choice whether to have a few drinks or not. Student’s can resist by not showing up to the programs, not paying attention to what the lectures have to say about drinking, and also by making their own mind up on whether to drink or not. Without some students making poor decisions while drinking or drinking irresponsibly resistance would not be an issue.

 

photo by: quinn.anya

Campus drinking solution

Drinking on college campuses is a problem an also a growing concern. Most of the students on college campuses are affected by college drinking, whether they are drinking or not. The problem with drinking isn’t that students drink, its the consequences that follow. According to the NIAAA (National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism) on college drinking, about four out of five students drink alcohol and about half of those drinkers are binge drinkers. This is a growing concern for the student oriented community because the consequences of some students that drink include death, assault, sexual abuse, injuries, and also a decline in academic success.

Me, in my opinion, believe that students (especially freshman or new coming students) partake in consuming alcohol because when they leave home to go to college to some students it may feel as a sense of freedom and a right to drink whenever they please. With little to no information out of high school some students are infected by the consequences when introduced to alcohol. Through strategies like brief lectures and intervention programs that specifically target individuals on their problems or potential problems of drinking may be effective.

Through my own experience of becoming a freshman for Longwood University the only things i heard about drinking through brief lectures are “if you drink, you can get in trouble with law enforcement.” How is that suppose to warn students about the consequences of drinking? To embed some of these students with the possible consequences of drinking i say implement these lectures and programs mainly to target freshman and new coming students and these lectures should include all the risks of drinking, how these risks may interfere or interrupt their academic success and goals, and how to reduce/ monitor drinking, and how to handle high risk situations.

Those that See it a Problem

The off campus leasing companies will not want to change their policies to include the six month leases that students need. They would need to create a new lease with the specific requirements for tenants to follow. As for on campus housing, the Residential and Commuter Life staff don’t want students who asked to be released from campus housing to ask to come back on. Students who have tried this in the past have been denied and only transfer students have gotten them to appeal the policy. The RCL staff doesn’t want to add more students in their repertoire with the increase in underclassmen being admitted.

The off campus housing are against creating these leases for students because of money. They feel that if they open up six month leases that they’ll have more vacancies during one semester and they’ll lose thousands of dollars quickly. Also, because one of the off campus housing companies is a franchise, the Farmville specific company doesn’t have much control over how long they can rent. This is mainly because when tenants sign a lease, it’s a lease that’s been generated for the Farmville community by the franchise.

The on campus housing has never offered any six month leases either. For the average amount of students who continuously live in an on campus apartment complexes as upperclassmen, it’s surprising that there haven’t been any changes made over time. The policy at this time is that once a student reaches a certain amount of credits, roughly 50 credits, they can fill out an application to request to be removed from the Residential and Commuter Life system and live with an independent landlord. Once these students are approved to live off campus, they can not return to live in a Longwood University apartment complex. What is confusing to some, however, is that there are no half year lease options for students who need to pay for housing with financial aid. Students are, in a way, limited to what they choose to do their final year based on housing and financial aspects.

Keeping these students in mind, it would be beneficial for the RCL staff to revise their policy or change up how they lease so that everyone is considered.

The Solution for Tenants

One issue that’s becoming more prevalent on the Longwood University campus is the lack of apartments that allow for six-month leases. Students, who are in specific programs such as nursing and liberal studies, need an option for a six month lease when they’re given the opportunity to complete their placements in another county outside of Farmville. Other students who would benefit from having half year leases are the students who transfer into the university, the students who study abroad for a semester and lastly, those students who need to stay another semester to finish their degree. This has become a more widespread problem because students, such as myself, come across the issue that they would have to pay rent even for the months that the tenants aren’t living in. With rent being roughly 650 a month, students lose thousands of dollars for the lack of six month leases.

Obviously, these leases won’t just become available right away, but I suggest that students fill out a survey. The survey wouldn’t be time consuming and each question could have a comment box to allow students to voice their opinions or other answers. The outcome of the results would give the housing companies a visual and numerical representation of what the student body needs. If the demand for six month leases was high enough, I believe this could be the start of giving tenants what they hoped to expect from in the beginning. Depending on the results of that school year, the housing company can adjust what apartments will allow six-month leases and which won’t. With this being a newer concept to them, it’s understandable that this won’t just happen overnight. However, allowing six month leases would provide great reviews for the company and further help them in the long run with having overall more tenants.

The housing companies are skeptical of the idea of more six month leases because of the business side of it. If students only live in an apartment for six months, that’s half a year of rent that the company isn’t making. I understand doing what they need to do as a business to thrive, however, the cost of rent has increased within the last year alone, and with those prices raising the dent they believe they’ll see will be minor.

Closing In With Drinking Out

To narrow my topic about adolescent and college drinking (mainly amongst freshman), the main concern about this topic is to increase the awareness of the possible dangers through more informative presentations/ speeches. This can be done with better awareness and mandatory programs for new coming students and for freshmen through their new lancer days week. It has been several years since i have came to Longwood University and experienced new lancer days but from what i can remember for drinking their main concern was to not make poor decisions solely based on breaking the law. College in todays sense goes hand in hand with drinking so trying to prevent students from drinking focus should be aimed more towards their decisions to drink and the consequences that may follow. Drinking while in college has more consequences other than just breaking the law through drinking in public, underage drinking, etc; It can cause individuals to make poor decisions which can cause bodily harm and in some cases death, as well as poor academics by causing student to skip classes due to laziness and oversleeping and students not drinking in moderation.

If these procedures and programs are created to help students prevent or better understand the negatives about drinking I believe that there will be a decrease in student accidents and academic failure that are caused by drinking alcohol. These informative procedures will help increase students awareness on college drinking and potentially help prevent certain negatives that alcohol can create for students attending college.

Scoping Out an Eye for an Eye

Bullying is a growing problem in the United States in todays society. Any person with internet access can be vulnerable to cyber bullying. Although, it is mostly associated with the younger teen generation of our time. Unfortunately, bullying in any form is not easy to identify. Bullying is a whole other world. Mostly, the act cannot even be traced until the one being bullied stands up to say something. Bullying can come in many forms as well. This is another trait that makes it harder to catch as well as prove. In most cases the only evidence anyone has to prove is if the bullying action has been put in words or physically occurred. Anyone can be a victim or a bully; adults, children, man, woman, it does not matter anyone can be or could be bullied or bullying. Bullying can happen any day at any time, any where. A few outcomes of bullying can be low self-esteem, drop-out, quitting a job, or even death!Cyber bullying is defined as “the electronic posting of mean-spirited messages about a person (as a student) often done anonymously” (Webster, 2011). It can be found in the form of: blogs, videos, chatrooms, social networking, or even a whole web page dedicated to harm the victim. Most children or adolescents learn this behavior from either there parents or their peers.

Bullying is normally a learned trait based on the consensus that a child must learn how to do so in some way. The paradigm is how they learn it. Based on personal social interactions or family interactions, they learn this behavior. In some cases bullies use the first amendment as reason behind their actions. This makes making a newer policy a bit more difficult to write. Where the first amendment does have it’s purpose it also has a few loopholes in it. And many persons will use these loopholes to their negative advantage.

On July 1, 2013, the governor of  Virginia defined bullying by stating, “ Bullying means any aggressive and unwanted behavior that is intended to harm, intimidate, or humiliate the victim; involves a real or perceived power imbalance between the aggressor or aggressors and victim; and is repeated over time or causes severe emotional trauma. ‘Bullying includes cyber bullying. ‘Bullying’ does not include ordinary teasing, horseplay, argument, or peer conflict.” (US Department of Health and Human Services).

 

According to the Virginia Commonwealth Law [H.B. 1624] Virginia [as a whole] needs to step up and advocate against bullying on all levels. Whether this is in school, in the community, or on the internet. It also states that school boards should advocate somehow to keep this out of their school district by setting a policy to avoid these actions as cautiously as necessary. The law then states that school districts should have systems of in-service to educate personnel on how to deal with these situations in case the need arises.

 

If this is the definition of bullying as a whole, does cyber bullying not fit into that category? Then why do schools, only cover the issue of what is done on the school grounds and bus stops? The issue is rising in teens all across Virginia. The issue in Mecklenburg County is steadily rising.

The focus here is more or less for middle and high school students aged 12-17. Most of these student s have social media sites. There are precautions that can be made. Will policy be able to stop the issue completely? NO. but we can put a dent in it if possible.

Let’s Take a Closer Look

Longwood is becoming a more popular place to attend for higher education. The amount of students being admitted into the university is increasing each year. This is, of course, a positive turn out for the university, however there are some issues that come along with raising the freshman class. There are issues for students who have been enrolled in the university for years now and even for students who are about to graduate. As we increase the amount of students at Longwood, the on campus housing realizes that there aren’t enough beds for students. Due to this more recent issue, students who have completed 48 credits can apply to live off campus. The amount of credits has decreased significantly over the years. Just last year students had to complete 56 credit hours in order to apply. When I first entered as a freshman into Longwood, they stated and prided themselves on the fact that they could house students from freshman to senior year if they wished. This is no longer the case. The amount of living space on campus has decreased as two residential halls are undergoing renovations. One building, French Hall, which originally house 105 students, is being renovated for the technology center, housing computer services, the radio station and the TV studio for Communication Studies. The Cunningham Residence Halls will be completely demolished in the near future erasing 448 rooms.

I bring this up because as all of these things are happening on campus, more students are moving off campus and the off campus housing companies cannot accommodate everyone and their needs; specifically those students who need leases for half a year only. Students who are involved in the nursing program and the liberal studies program, students who decide to transfer in to Longwood, those who study abroad for a semester, or even those students who need an extra semester to finish their undergraduate or graduate program could greatly benefit from having a six month lease. The issue is that the housing companies don’t want to create six-month leases thinking that they will be able to fill these spots with students who will live there for the entire year. The list of students that I provided is not a small number of students. Students in the nursing and liberal studies program alone generate a good percentage in itself that shows the companies that it’s worth having the leases. 200 students transferred into Longwood this last year and that number is only from the Fall of 2013. There are approximately 50 students in the nursing program that have the option to go out into another county to complete their placement that could use six month leases as well. Longwood’s liberal studies program is one of the largest on campus and students also have the opportunity to leave the town of Farmville to complete their placement elsewhere. The numbers add up to a lot of money being wasted to the students signing leases for a year and only living in them for half the time. Wasting away hundreds of dollars a month is not ideal for students who most likely already have student loans and other debts to pay off. Housing shouldn’t be this large of an issue.

A Quick Catch Up

An original suggestion for this topic was for the companies to offer one or two continuous six-month leases to the apartments they already own. This seemed like an idea that would work pretty effortlessly. However, after talking to a consultant at one of the nearby housing companies, she told me otherwise. (Refer back to One Side Verses The Other for more details) I decided to find out what was listed in our area for what I was searching for-I wasn’t picky either. An online apartment list only provided me with one housing company that offered it. I was more shocked than not. I understand that it’s not common for many people to only need a six-month lease and that it’s slim to non that people passing through the area need a place to stay for six months, but Longwood University provides enough people to make a dent in the housing demand. Going back to the programs I listed in the beginning of this blog, upperclassmen who are in the Student Teaching Program, Nursing Program, students who decide to study abroad for a semester, or students who need to stay an extra semester to graduate would all benefit with a six-month lease. On US NEWS, they state that Liberal Studies/ Liberal Arts Majors consisted of 18% of the graduating class in 2012. In total, that comes out to being 774 students that could potentially need a lone semester here at school. That number doesn’t include all of the other students who may have decided to add another major and stay another semester to graduate or students who had the opportunity to study abroad either.

I’m not saying students haven’t been able to get by in the past, but I’m announcing the dissatisfaction with the amount of options the student body is given. Longwood University’s freshman class grows each year as the “largest class ever”, which can be positive for the university. However, what we aren’t paying attention to is the fact that if we continue this habit, students are going to run out of places to live. I bring this up because this year two residential halls are undergoing construction and the Residential Housing Company almost encourages students who are eligible to move off campus. They recently lowered the amount of credits a students need to move to off campus housing. The policy is that once a student moves off campus, they are not permitted to live back onto on campus housing again. With this being the case, the off campus housing companies now have to deal with the increased amount of students. Arizona state schools increased the amount of beds for the student demand because it rose so quickly. Since we’re much smaller than the school they mention, we wouldn’t nearly as many as they state. In a New Jersey article that discussed some similar issues, they stated that it could take approximately 3 years from the start of a project to the time tenants move in. At Longwood, there have been some quickly built apartment complexes and they appear to look nice, but after living in them myself for not even a whole year I can speak from experience that they were built cheaply.

Building a few more apartment complexes could be a place where students who specifically need six-month leases can live. A suggestion is to start a relatively manageable size in a space that can be expanded on later. Having more property can help out a large minority of the students who need a place to live in a relatively close proximity to campus.

Start the Stand

 

The main problem within the issue of college drinking is that there are not enough informative information on the dangers and the consequences of drinking while in college. Informative information is information that “informs” students of what the possible outcomes may be if they are associated with drinking, and not just the consequences. Within the Longwood University Student Handbook it doesn’t show any informative information on drinking, but within the handbook you will mainly see policies and punishments by Longwood but not the dangers.

As a new coming student from high school the dangers that these individuals run into could be endless, and alcohol is one of them. In Longwood, new students are required to go to various meetings before attending their classes and start their education as new students. Within those lectures, again have no informative information on alcohol but just mere scares on the policy and its punishments.

Although students can use common sense on how alcohol can disrupt their college career, it may be too late to catch back up on their work, or may be too late for preventing injuries, and sometimes-permanent damage.

A suggestion and my stand towards college drinking in Longwood University would to increase the amount of awareness and informative lectures on the dangerous and sometimes life ruining affects of alcohol while attending college.

One Side verses the Other

The main issue that students’ deal with when they come across with six-month leases is that they aren’t offered. On the contrary though, the leasing companies don’t want to offer them because it’s an entire semester where they don’t create income. I’ve narrowed this down to one of the main leasing companies closest to campus for the sake of this blog and it’s understandable on both sides, however students should not have to pay for the extra six months.

When I called the office of one of the main leasing companies and asked if they offered them, her answer was simply no. She expanded and told me that if they can find someone to rent for the following semester that they would, but that they don’t allow that to happen for more than a couple of people. This brings up a couple of issues. For one, what requirements do those people have that others don’t that allow them to be chosen for these select few leases? Another reason, that this causes issues is for the reason that is there are under ten leases that are chosen for a main leasing company. That’s a small fraction of the student population who could use it.

Although student’s can understand the business side of the company, students still want the option to live nearby campus and have the opportunities and experiences like their peers. The options given to students are further away and students feel as if they’re missing out on the college life style. Although some people can’t always get the perfect living situation, more people would be able to be accommodated.

A suggestion would be to allow for more six-month leases, the school is expanding and so does the companies. Some of these apartments can be set aside to accommodate for the students.