So Where Are Denisonians Drinking?

By Maggie Miller

[Note: This is the 3rd piece in a series about the Denison social scene. Post 1. Post 2.]

In our first two posts of our OneTwentySeven Moonies investigation, we have established that the Denison student body is not overwhelmingly positive towards the Moonies and that the opening of the Moonies in the Fall of 2019 may have actually decreased binge drinking rates from Fall to Spring semester. In this third post, I wanted to approach a question I asked myself after writing the first two posts. If Denisonians are not spending their time on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday nights at the Moonies, which can be assumed by the lack of warmth towards them, then where on Denison’s campus has social culture taken shelter?

In our most recent survey, we asked respondents about where in the Fall of 2019 did their closest friend choose to consume alcoholic beverages (as far as they know)? The options provided were the Moonies, Sunnies, Freshman Dorms, East Quad, South Quad, North Quad, or none of the above. They could have checked as many locations as might apply.

Figure 1 below illustrates the respondent’s answers from the question organized by class year. At each location, the highest attendees tend to be the class year that lives in those buildings or on that quad. In other words, Seniors frequent the Sunnies and North quad, Sophomores and Juniors frequent East Quad, and First Years hang in the First Year Dorms. This illustrates that Denisonians tend to consume alcoholic beverages where they feel the most comfortable – where they live. Maybe there is not enough pull by social spaces around campus to motivate Denisonians to leave their home base?

However, as much of our previous articles in the series illustrated a cold feeling towards the Moonies, Denisonians of all class years still seem to be attending. The Moonies seem to be one of the only places where drinking is not segregated by year (see the figure below). First Years attend the most of any class year, which lines up with their higher approval of the Moonies, but Seniors, Juniors, and Sophomores also noted the Moonies as a place they occasionally visit to consume alcoholic beverages.

Figure 1: Denisonians Drink Where they Live

Another interesting result is that First Years seem to frequent multiple places on campus to consume alcoholic beverages. First Year respondents marked down Moonies, Sunnies, First Year Dorms, and East Quad as locations they tend to frequent. This could suggest that as First-Years attempted to get a handle on Denison’s social culture, they were not partial to any one location, but felt comfortable moving around to find parties that were available. Are First-Years the only class year to have more than one location where they consume alcoholic beverages?

Figure 2 attempts to answer this question by plotting the average number of quads checked by students separated out by class year. The graph shows that First-Years marked 2+ places on average, whereas Sophomores, Juniors, and Senior hovered around 1.5 places. It seems that First-Years tend to be more fluid about their location, while other class years are more likely to stick to their scene.

Figure 2: First-Years Are the Only Class Year to Identify More Than 2 Places of Drinking

One hope I had was that we could build a web of where students frequented and where students spent their time. With Denison’s social culture constantly changing, I feel as though it is important that the Denison Administration realizes where students want to socialize. After our results from our first Moonies post illustrated how cold Denisonians felt towards the Moonies, I was left asking: are there locations that Denisonians prefer over the Moonies for their socializing and consumption of alcoholic beverages?

Figure 3 paints a really interesting picture of where Denisonians drink on campus. One can also interpret locations for drinking as locations for partying and socializing, as those terms tend to be synonymous. The network below links the 6 locations offered to respondents when they answered the question mentioned earlier. Thicker lines mean that more people said they drink in both locations: Sunnies-East is the most popular combination (32%), with Sunnies-Moonies a close second (28%), and South Quad-First Year Dorms is the least common (3%). Put another way, as of Fall 2019, the Holy Trinity of Denisonians’ places to consume alcohol was the “notorious suites of East” Quad, Sunnies, and Moonies.

Figure 3: A Network of Where Denisonians Drink Shows The Holy Trinity as East Quad, Sunnies and Moonies.

Looking at this network, you can see the thickest lines build a pretty apparent triangle-like shape between the Sunnies, East Quad, and the Moonies. Although this might be obvious to Denisonians, the important thing to note is that back in the Fall of 2019 Moonies were really the only endorsed option for social culture. The administration built the Moonies with the thought that it would be the place that Denisonians chose to consume alcoholic beverages and socialize on weekend nights. However, while Denisonians may not be enthusiastic about the Moonies, they are attending and willing to try it out, while also maintaining, though, the traditional socializing on East Quad and the Sunnies. It seems like the best option is for the Denison administration to support The Holy Trinity and permit social culture to take place in East Quad, the Sunnies, and the Moonies. Maybe this will even encourage more diversification of socialization amongst class-years if there are genuinely more options and a spread of social culture on Denison’s campus.

Maggie Miller is an almost Denison alumna who is experiencing quarantine in NYC while pondering what a post-pandemic job market looks like. She is looking forward to her Zoom University Class of 2020 graduation on May 16th.

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