Debunking the Princeton Review

Dear Friends of the University of Iowa:

You may have read recent news reports about The Princeton Review (a private company that sells test preparation products and services and college guides) naming the University of Iowa a “top party school.” Putting aside that the ranking is based on a couple hundred non-representative surveys out of a student population exceeding 30,000, the university recognizes and takes very seriously the risk alcohol use poses to the health, safety and success of our students.

Since 2009, our campus has taken a highly proactive approach to reducing high-risk drinking by implementing multiple, mutually reinforcing, research-based strategies on campus and in collaboration with our community partners. Those efforts are paying clear, measurable dividends.

For instance, each year we administer the National Collegiate Health Assessment to a representative sample of our undergraduate students. Every measure we watch has improved. Since 2009, the proportion of students engaging in high-risk drinking in the two weeks preceding the survey is down 17 percent, to the lowest level in 20 years; the average number of drinks consumed per drinking occasion is down 20 percent; and the proportion of students reporting any drinking in the 30 days preceding the survey is down nearly 12 percent.

We realize there is much more work to do, and we continue to develop initiatives to promote healthy, thoughtful lifestyle choices. Thankfully, the University of Iowa has wonderful partners in local businesses and city government, and a lot of help and guidance from students themselves.

I also invite you—our alumni, donors and friends—to join us in encouraging young people in your circles of influence to delay drinking at least until they’re legally allowed to consume alcohol—and after that, to drink responsibly. You can help in another way, as well. The Princeton Review rankings don’t accurately reflect our reality. You know that we have great students engaged in great programs here at the University of Iowa. Please help us spread the word.

In the meantime, here are links to some helpful resources that shed more light on our efforts, and successes, in encouraging students to drink legally and responsibly:

We welcome your thoughts, suggestions and feedback. Please send comments to me ( or Kelly Bender, the University’s Coordinator of Campus and Community Alcohol Harm Reduction Initiatives, at


Tom Rocklin
Vice President for Student Life
Co-Chair, Partnership for Alcohol Safety Continue reading

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2013 Annual Report

Learn how the Division of Student Life is working to support student success, health & safety, multiculturalism, and more in our 2013 Annual Report.

Read the report here.


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JT Timmons starts as new Recreational Services director

JT Timmons

JT Timmons, new Director for Recreational Services at the University of Iowa

As of Monday, July 29, 2013, JT Timmons is the new director of Recreational Services. In this position, JT will be responsible for providing strategic direction for the department, communicating department mission, vision, and values, and organizing and managing the operational activities and programs of the Recreational Services department.

JT has experience in several higher education settings, having been employed at Monmouth College, Western Illinois University, Augustana College, St. Ambrose University, and most recently the University of Illinois Springfield as Director of Recreational Sports.

He is an American Sport Education Program Certified Coach as of 2013, and has been a professional member of the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association since 2002.

JT will be reaching out to key campus individuals in the Athletic Department, UI Wellness, and the Division of Student of Life in order to better interface and collaborate.

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Awarding Commitment

Hawkeye Leadership & Service Awards on May 1, 2013. Photo by Sanna Miller.

Hawkeye Leadership & Service Awards honor students for their commitment to campus and community.

Story by Hanna Rosman

Attending college is not only about excelling academically, but also using those skills outside of the classroom. For Sydney Mason, a member of Walk It Out, attending college means working with local businesses to celebrate diversity, fashion, and raise awareness for HIV/AIDS-related issues. Walk It Out (WIO) is one of several student organizations recognized at the Hawkeye Leadership & Service Awards held on May 1st at the Iowa Memorial Union.

Read more on After Class.

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Recreational Services Director Harry Ostrander Retires

Retiring UI Recreational Services Director Harry Ostrander has operated through a campus shooting, fire, three floods, and a tornado, and he has overseen millions of dollars in facility investment, most notably the Campus Recreation & Wellness Center in 2010.

Read more at the Daily Iowan

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Look once, think twice

Student Health & Wellness launched an initiative to aid first-year students who are negatively affected by secondhand effects of peer alcohol use. Their new class “Look Once, Think Twice” began in Fall 2012 and is specifically designed for students who are in the presence of alcohol, but not consuming alcohol.

“[Look Once, Think Twice] lets students know they’re not the only person who has made the choice of abstinence,” says Danielle McGraw, Substance Abuse Counselor at UI. “It helps to kind of tie them to other people and to other resources. It also helps to increase students’ confidence.”

Read more on After Class.

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Less Water, Less Waste

Pulped food waste from the University of Iowa Hillcrest Market Place goes to the Iowa City compost operation. After the food pulper installation in 2012, the amount of waste dropped from 8,533 pounds of post-consumer food waste to about 2,800 pounds per week—a 66 percent decrease. Photo by Kirk Murray.

Pulped food waste from the University of Iowa Hillcrest Market Place goes to the Iowa City compost operation. After the food pulper installation in 2012, the amount of waste dropped from 8,533 pounds of post-consumer food waste to about 2,800 pounds per week—a 66 percent decrease. Photo by Kirk Murray.

Implementing sustainable practices on the University of Iowa campus requires creativity, attention to detail, and in-depth research. For Fred Kurt, operations manager at Hillcrest Market Place, improving sustainability also means saving money and increasing productivity while continuing to serve 3,250 meals to students daily.

“I was always digging for the details, doing audits finding out how much waste we have, how much is it going to cost over the course of a year, how much water usage difference will it be to try new systems,” Kurt says.

In the Hillcrest Market Place, Kurt found that University Housing and Diningcould save about 1.5 million gallons of water each year by switching out the old dishwashing machine for a new system that includes a food-pulping machine. The change could save over $17,000 a year in water and detergent costs.

Read more on Iowa Now.


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Climbing to Careers

The University of Iowa hosted nearly 100 students at the second annual Midwest Outdoor Leadership Conference (MWOLC) on Feb. 22-24, 2013. Every year MWOLC invites students from college outdoor recreation programs across the Midwest to meet for one weekend in order to learn skills that will benefit their future careers in the outdoor recreation industry.

Read more on After Class.


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The Office of Res Life offers Tutoring to Students

In the multi purpose room in Mayflower Hall on a Sunday night, students are sitting one-on-one with each other. Rather than conversations about music or a new movie that came out, there are tutoring sessions taking place covering  fundamentals of math, chemistry, and rhetoric.

The Office of Residence Life, a unit of University Housing & Dining, has provided a convenient tutoring service since the Spring semester of 2010. This free tutoring service is between the hours of 8p.m. – 10p.m. Sunday through Thursday all semester long in Hillcrest Hall, Currier Hall, and Mayflower Hall.

Read more about it on After Class News.

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Fair Day 2013 a Success

Fair Day 2013

The IMU hosted its biggest fair yet on January 24, 2013 when it combined the Volunteer Fair, the Student Organization Fair, and the Housing Fair into one. Though there may have not been a literal tent in the IMU, the fair-inspired atmosphere could be felt throughout the entire building.

Read more about it on After Class News.

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