By Raanan Geberer
Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Brooklyn College is the only Brooklyn-based institution of higher learning to have made this year’s edition of the Princeton Review’s “The Best 377 Colleges” , which is certainly a compliment to the CUNY school.
The survey also declared that Brooklyn College is definitely not a party school, ranking it as the seventh highest “Stone-Cold Sober School” among schools included in the book.
It is also the fourth from the top in “Scotch and Soda, Hold the Scotch” (low hard-liquor usage); the fifth from the top in “Got Milk” (beer usage reported low); and 12th in the category of “Don’t Inhale” (marijuana usage reported low).
Administrators and students on the Flatbush campus told the Brooklyn Eagle there are several reasons for this — primarily that it's a commuter school and many students are working-class immigrants or children of immigrants to whom success in school is crucial.
Brooklyn College spokesperson Jeremy Thompson said many students are supporting families and are both working and going to school.
He said many belong to religious groups — specifically Muslims, for whom drinking alcohol is forbidden, and Orthodox Jews, for whom recreational drinking is not part of their tradition.
Also, there are few bars in the immediate area, Thompson said.
Student government president Abraham Esses, a junior majoring in economics and mathematics, concurs that Brooklyn's status as a commuter school contributes to the sobriety of its students.
“Students come here to study, and they tend to leave their personal lives at home,” he said.
He also called attention to the administration’s focus on an orderly campus. "Recently, they banned smoking on campus,” he said. “While smoking is not the same thing [as drinking], they have a commitment to a clean campus,” he said.
All in all, Esses said the low incidence of drinking is “good for studies,” and he “would not support anything that contributes to illegal activities on campus,” referring to the fact that some students are below the legal drinking age.
Nkaa Esprit, an exchange student from Dominca in the Caribbean, said that "students here are often older than other schools, and they come to school just to attend classes." While there are student clubs, she said, they are usually academically oriented.
“This is a good thing,” added Esprit, a senior who is majoring in math.
Brooklyn College is one of five CUNY schools included in the Princeton Review book, the others being City College of New York, Hunter College, Baruch College and Queens College.
The other CUNY colleges, which are also commuter schools, have similar ratings for sobriety — for example, Queens College ranks number 8 for “Scotch and Soda, Hold the Scotch” and number 10 in “Got Milk?”
Back in 2003, Brooklyn College was also in the news because of a rating in the Princeton Review. That year, it was named the Most Beautiful Campus. It was in the Top 10 for Best Academic Value, Diversity and Location.
While Brooklyn College was the only Brooklyn-based school named in the Princeton Review’s list of the 377 best colleges, NYU Polytechnic was named in one of the 220 “Best Northeastern Colleges” in a separate regional list.