Most Georgetown students are at least somewhat familiar with Georgetown’s toilet tabloid, the Stall Seat Journal, and the organization that produces it and other fliers around campus displaying alcohol consumption statistics – SMURF, or Students Marketing Under-Recognized Facts. SMURF uses numbers from a survey that all Hoyas receive in their e-mail inboxes every year to distribute information to students through fliers near commodes and on walls about how their peers behave in social situations where alcohol is present. SMURF’s sample of Georgetown students is based solely on voluntary participation, which leaves the definite possibility for skewed representation. Although the survey is anonymous, the questions in it are about drinking – illegal behavior for much of the student body – and thus they carry a definite social stigma. Of 3,407 respondents, 98 percent claim that they would walk a friend home in order to make sure that he or she is safe. That sounds great. But it begs the question: Who are the 68 Georgetown students who said they wouldn’t walk their friends home? After all, the longest walk from one end of campus to another takes about 12 minutes. For some, that’s asking too much when their friends are in trouble. Another statistic that SMURF tracks is that 97 percent of Georgetown respondents claim to eat before they drink. That still leaves 103 respondents who went through an entire survey about drinking and potentially dangerous behaviors, but they wouldn’t take 15 minutes to have a sandwich before knocking some back. The worst part about the “other side” of the SMURF numbers becomes apparent when one looks at the statistic that 76 percent of students don’t miss class for drinking – meaning 24 percent, or nearly a quarter of Georgetown students, do skip class due to alcohol consumption. Out of the 3,407 respondents, 818 make the effort to get accepted to Georgetown University, but choose to miss class in favor of getting drunk or nursing a hangover. Those are well-spent tuition dollars. Certainly the scientific merit of the survey surely leaves something to be desired, but even the numbers SMURF produces show an interesting side of Georgetown. Hoyas should be proud that most students would behave responsibly, but we should work to change the somewhat disturbing other side.

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