The Daily Gamecock

Not quite 21: USC ranked nation’s No. 20 party school

University’s Greek scene also receives No. 20 spot

Here’s a ranking worthy of a toast: USC is now among the top 20 party schools in the nation, according to the Princeton Review.

The Gamecocks received the No. 20 spot on the list, topped by Ohio University of Athens, Ohio, which beat out last year’s No. 1, the University of Georgia, coincidentally located in Athens, Ga.

This is Ohio University’s 12th year on the list. In the SEC, South Carolina was topped by second-ranked Georgia, ninth-ranked Florida and 13th-ranked Louisiana State. The Princeton Review bases its results on student surveys, and more than 122,000 students were questioned. Jerry Brewer, USC’s associate vice president for Student Life, said the ranking was certainly not an accolade the university would encourage.

“If it means a fun environment where people enjoy each other and the campus, then it’s a good thing,” Brewer said. “We have a good environment, we have some challenges, but that comes with the age group.”

USC requires all students take an online alcohol education survey, which takes the student through a series of modules. Students are given information and work through a series of questions until they are prompted to take a test, which requires an 80 percent or higher to pass. Students who fail to pass are unable to register for classes. All data from the survey is kept in groups instead of being identified individually. After being on campus for six weeks, students are required to take a follow-up test to measure what’s called the “college effect,” which shows how students behavior has changed over the course of being on a college campus for six weeks.

“Unfortunately, this is not something that I have much to do with,” said Maggie Leitch, the USC Substance Abuse Prevention and Education coordinator, in an email response. “I focus on the daily aspects of educating our campus about the negatives effects of alcohol and other drugs. Nothing about my efforts changes based on the Princeton Review.”

The Carolina Community Coalition, which describes itself on its website as “a campus and community-wide effort to monitor high-risk behaviors and develop strategies to help students make healthy decisions concerning alcohol, drugs, violence and other safety issues,” was unavailable to comment.

Alyssa Kasraii, a second-year prepharmacy student, drew a parallel between the Southern sports culture and partying.

“Especially now that all our sports teams are getting really big, I think that has something to do with the ranking,” Kasraii said. “Obviously, the better your school does in sports, more people go out and show their pride and have more school spirit, so more people are going to Five Points and throwing parties because you want to celebrate the success of your school. We have a lot of school pride, and we like to show it.”

Lauren Schwartz, a second-year business student, said the ranking is what students and parents make of it.

“I think at any school you’ll find a party if you want to party, and you’ll study hard if you want to study hard,” Schwartz said.

But at least one campus minister wasn’t disappointed with the ranking.

“Jesus was a partier himself,” said Tom Wall at the Methodist Student Network. “He was accused of being a glutton and a drunkard. He changed water into wine. Parties are fine. Human beings have tradition to celebrate. But partying can be self-destructive. But we’re not against parties.”

The various campus ministries provide different ways for students to socialize, all of which are alcohol free because the majority of students are under 21 and it is university policy, according to Wall.

USC was also ranked 20th for its Greek Life, and The Daily Gamecock was ranked as the 17th best college newspaper.

Reporting was contributed by Ryan Quinn.