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Wednesday, June 19, 2024
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War Sends Students to the Bar


Constant coverage of the war in Iraq has driven some students to drink more heavily than usual, according to UB researchers.

Professor of psychology David Hetite and his group of researchers compared student bar attendance at three Main Street bars from the past two weeks to the same time last year.

He had been gathering this information for another study, but he decided to use the results for this report as well, he said.

"Student attendance at bars has increased significantly since last March. Based on interviews with students and in-depth research, we have found that war leads students to drink," he said.

According to Hetite, student bar attendance on nights other than Thursday through Saturday has gone up by 42 percent since the war started.

Many students confirmed Hetite's theory that students are spending much of their time in bars.

"I fill my mind up with liquor and drink away the pain. I think the whole world's losing its brain," said Danyel Gianni, a sophomore chemistry major.

Gianni said she used to only go to PJ Bottoms on Thursday nights, but ever since the United States has gone to war, she also goes out on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

The sophomore, who is not yet 21 years old, also said she has begun dressing more scantily and that she's "Looking like a tramp, like a video vamp."

Mackenzie Jacobs, a senior mathematics major, said she has also been spending more time on Main Street, but she does not necessarily attribute this to the ongoing war.

"You gotta squeeze a little, squeeze a little, tease a little more," she said. "Sometime, anytime, sugar me sweet."

According to Jacobs, her increased "around the clock, anytime," drinking is probably due to her graduation anxiety. The senior said she might decide to take on another major in Women's Studies instead of looking for a "real job."

Instead of her normal three bottles of Smirnoff Ice, Jacobs said that she is drinking a larger variety of liquors since the war started.

"One bourbon, one scotch and one beer is my typical lineup now," she said.

Hetite said this type of behavior is normal and that students like Jacobs might be in denial.

"Often, students will look to displace their apprehension. Anyone suffering from alcoholism - often characterized by spouting odd lyrics - should seek counseling," he said.

Sandra Evans, a graduate student and one of Hetite's research assistants, said she was responsible for going into the bars and interviewing students on the non-traditional drinking nights.

"It was quite an experience. Kids were everywhere - at the bar, on the bar, behind the bar. The bartenders didn't know what to do," she said. "This is dramatically different than when I used to go partying as an undergrad."

But according to Sean Smith, owner of Home Plate on Main Street, bar owners are thrilled with the new trend.

"With students coming out every night of the week, we've more than doubled our profits. We have 11 TVs in my bar, so we keep them all tuned into CNN to make sure the students keep coming back," said Smith. "Students are constantly coming in; even during the afternoon."

Smith said he had one student come into his bar around noon on Monday screaming, 'Take a bottle, shake it up. Break the bubble, break it up.'"

Michael Atlar, a junior English major, was one of the students Evans interviewed on Monday, March 24, at Home Plate.

"I figure that since America is sending troops to the Middle East to fight for our freedom, it is our duty as Americans to get trashed more than usual," Altar said. "If we deny ourselves $2 Labatts and $1 well drinks, the terrorists have already won."




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