The University of Iowa “has been dethroned,” as one student put it, and officials say that’s a good thing.
The Princeton Review issued its 2015 edition of the “Best 379 Colleges” on Monday, and UI came in at No. 2 on the publication’s list of top party schools. Last year, UI was named the nation’s top party school.
It was bumped from the top spot this year by Syracuse University, a private university in New York. Iowa’s No. 2 ranking keeps it in the top five for the fourth consecutive year — it ranked No. 1 on the 2014 list, No. 2 on the 2013 list, and No. 4 on the 2012 list. The university in recent years has launched programs and initiatives aimed at decreasing high-risk and underage drinking on campus and in the nearby downtown district.
Following Monday’s release of the new rankings, UI President Sally Mason issued a statement pointing to those harm-reduction efforts.
“High-risk drinking poses a risk to the health and safety of college students, and it jeopardizes their academic success,” Mason said in the written statement. “This is a problem at colleges and universities across the country. Here at Iowa, we take this issue seriously, and we have been working hard to address it.”
Students, faculty and staff in 2009 developed a plan for reducing high-risk drinking based on research, Mason said.
“And it’s starting to make an impact,” she said.
One-third of UI students report having had zero drinks during the previous month, Mason reported, and students who do drink are drinking less per occasion. Over the last five years, she said, binge drinking has dropped 23 percent and the instances of frequent drinking — defined as 10 days in one month — have dropped 31 percent, Mason said.
Still, she said, “I know that there is more work to be done.”
The Princeton Review guide ranks colleges and universities in 62 categories related to things like academics, campus life, quality of life, and extracurricular involvement. This year’s lists were based on surveys of more than 130,000 students — or an average of 343 students per school.
The surveys are conducted online all year, and a sizable number were completed in the 2013-14 academic year, according to the Princeton Review.
Rounding out this year’s top five party schools are University of California-Santa Barbara at No. 3, West Virginia University at No. 4, and University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign at No. 5.
After the lists were released Monday, social media exploded with commentary on UI’s dip in the party school rankings.
“A sad day as the University of Iowa loses its crown as the top party school,” one person who goes by “BarstoolTrent wrote on Twitter.
“Thank God University of Iowa is not the top-ranked party school anymore,” another person wrote. “Sick of hearing about it.”