Sometimes we get e-mail that is incredibly useful -- story ideas, source contact information, etc. Other times, we get mail disguised as a story lead from a PR firm. And when that happens, we're going to run it using a tenuously-connected headline. (This will be meant jokingly, like the headline above. So, let's all step back from the fourth-cup of coffee and relax...)
From the e-mail:
Princeton Review just announced its list of top party schools for 2010 and Penn State takes top honors. Penn State alumni and author Jennifer Storm www.jenniferstorm.com knows all about partying. But by the time she became a student in 1999, partying was the last thing on her mind. A recovering drug addict and alcoholic, Ms. Storm was all about the campus experience--minus the famous drinking, drugging and party scene.
"I got clean and sober at PennState," said Ms. Storm. "I went to college there in early recovery and stayed clean and sober for my entire four year stay. Sure there were times when it was hard, but my recovery was what enabled me to go there in the first place and become the first person in my family ever to graduate from college."
Though she avoided the party scene, Ms. Storm's Penn State experience was not a boring experience. "In fact," she said, "I had a blast at Penn State and I never picked up a drink or drug. It is possible to attend a university with a party reputation and stay clean and sober. I created an environment for myself which enabled me to do so."
Jennifer Storm's books, Blackout Girl: Growing Up and Drying Out in America (Hazelden/2008) and her forthcoming book, Leave the Light On: A Memory of Recovery and Self-Discovery (Central Recovery Press / April 2010) talk about her experiences of being young and sober. Leave the Light On documents her years at Penn State.
This is not way means to poke fun at Storm's personal battle with sobriety -- it's a great thing for herself and her family that she conquered her demons and has been able to lead a positive life. (This post IS poking fun at people who spam e-mail boxes.)
This is linked to yesterday's release of "The Best 371 Colleges" by The Princeton Review. Within that annual report are the Top Party Schools, Least Religious Students, top sober schools, etc. It should be noted is in no way related to Princeton University. The rankings are based on a survey of 122,000 students at the 371 colleges.
Penn State took home honors for "top party school," which is like being named the fastest 100-meter dash sprinter at the Olympics. (It's college -- kids are going to party at most schools. Teach them how to be responsible and respectful and also the dangers of substance abuse. Trust that they will make good decisions based on that education and the work of parents, friends and previous educators.)
Meanwhile, the Princeton Review also ranks the Most Sober School. Reportedly taking home the honors for the 12th year in a row? Brigham Young University .
Former NFL quarterback Steve Young has not released a comment, but I have a call into a local parent who has had some children go to BYU to see what she has to say...
I'll try to update this later.
(UPDATE: St. Mary's University and Winona State named to "Best of Midwest" in Princeton Review. (This has to do with academic offerings, not party or party-less schools.)
From release: Other Minnesota schools included on Princeton Review's 2010 “Best in the Midwest” list are: Augsburg, Carleton, Crown College, Gustavus Adolphus, Hamline, Macalester, Minneapolis College of Art and Design, North Central University, St. Catherine, St. Olaf, St. Scholastica, St. Thomas, and University of Minnesota (Twin Cities and Crookston campuses).
The 639 colleges named regional bests (217 in the Northeast, 141 in the Southeast, 158 in the Midwest, and 123 in the West) represent only about 25 percent of the nation's 2,500 four-year colleges.