Back Of The Envelope: How Much Alcohol Do Columbia Students Consume
Written by Gabrielle Kloppers
At a university like Columbia, where everyone is constantly under heavy academic pressure, many students choose to imbibe copious quantities of alcohol in order to chill out a little bit. Bwog Staff Writer Gabrielle Kloppers investigates the volumes involved, using a thoroughly scientific method.
First of all, we need to separate Columbia Students into categories, or classes of drinkers. I will be separating into three primary groups: the goodie-goodies, the philosophers, and the drunkest-one-at-the-party.
The goodie-goodie doesn’t drink much; maybe they’ll have a glass of wine with dinner, or a nice mixed-drink (with actually expensive liquor…). They would never be seen at 1020 on a Tuesday night. Their estimated alcohol consumption would be at around 50 ml hard liquor (from their cheeky scotch on the rocks after their last midterm), and a standard glass of wine (150ml) per month. They don’t enjoy getting insane. So, over the course of the year, they would consume around 12 x 50 = 600 ml of hard liquor and 150 x 12 = 1800 ml of wine per year. That comes out to a little less than a 2L bottle of wine (which for some of us is indulgence for only one night), and less than a bottle of hard liquor. These are not the students that we see with entire walls of bottles.
The second group is the philosophers. They enjoy drinking, and they basically treat alcohol as food. It fuels their creative impulse, they say. In reality, it fuels their laziness. They are far from Hemingway, needing a drink to get out of their heads. But they think they are his second coming and it means they have bottles upon bottles lined up on their shelves. They would consume, on average, a bottle of wine (the big 2L bottles…) when talking to other ~intellectuals~ about their ~art~. They think of this as inspiration, but in reality, its exactly the same as a bubbly blonde girl drinking at a party- it’s still all about the flirtation. But let’s get down to the mathematics of it. We have 2L of wine around twice a week (the average amount of social drinking occasions, just a high volume). But on top of this, we also have the sneaky drinks these intellectuals take when they need to write. Or go to class. Or survive. This amounts to around 1.5L of hard liquor a week. So our totals for year become: 2 x 2 x 54= 216L of wine a year, and 1.5 x 54= 81 L of hard liquor a year. It really adds up quickly…
The third group is the drunkest-one-at-the-party. They’re always at a frat party or crowded bar (usually 1020). But they’re also the one who are the drunkest at these social occasions. They’re the one who threw up in the flower pot outside of 1020, or over the side of the staircase in Beta. They’re consistently dragged home by their mildly frustrated friends, and put to bed. You’d think these party animals would consume the most alcohol by volume, but the reality is quite different. They can get that drunk only because they don’t have a high tolerance- they’re your one-shot Sally, one-beer Brad, and so they would consume around 200mL of hard liquor on a night out (or, around 2 margaritas from Amigos). They do go out quite often though, so we estimate 200 x 3 = 600 for the week, which ads up to: 600 x 54 = 32,400 mL or around 32 L of alcohol for the year. That’s around 16 handles of liquor, which sounds like a lot… until you compare it with the intellectual.