CORE Survey Dispels Popular Myths

How would you like to win dinner for two at the Colgate Inn?Tops gifts cards? One week’s parking in the Merrill House Lot? How about a 20 gigabyte Apple Ipod?For a chance at these prizes, among many others, Colgate students need only participate in the CORE survey, which will take place early next week. The CORE survey is administered on many college campuses across the country and is used to gather general information about alcohol and drug use, as well as other types of behavior. Colgate has participated in the survey for the past four years.According to its website, “The Core Institute is a not-for-profit organization whose main purpose is to assist institutions of higher education in drug and alcohol prevention efforts.” The agency generates and processes surveys that help schools evaluate the prevalence of drugs and other behaviors on campus.Coordinator of Alcohol and Drug Education Jane Jones, who is in charge of administering the survey at Colgate, strongly encouraged students to participate in the survey, which consists of 40 questions and should take 20 to 30 minutes to complete. She hopes to see a higher participation rate than the 851 students who took part last year. “The more responses we get, the better the data reflects the way things actually are,” Jones said.She stressed the confidentiality of the survey. “There’s no link whatsoever between your name and your information,” Jones said, “and there’s no way of tracking answers. It’s totally confidential.”Jones also encouraged students to respond, even if they are not comfortable answering all the questions. “I would rather have a good response with some blanks than no response at all,” she said.The survey is web-based and located at, but students will not be able to participate until early next week when they will receive a campus mailing giving them their personal user ID and nine-digit password. They can then use their password to log onto the site and complete the survey confidentially.The CORE institute then processes the results and creates a comprehensive statistics package for all the colleges that participated. They also compile Colgate’s statistics exclusively, which they then send back to the school. Colgate administrators can use the survey results to get a general snapshot of what the student environment is like during any given year.The more practical use of the statistical data comes in what Jones referred to as “social norming,” or informing Colgate students about the attitudes and actions of the campus community as a whole.This process can be seen most obviously in the posters widely distributed around campus, which tout such statistics as, “Students at Colgate believe that 71 percent of their peers drink alcohol 12 or more times a month, [but] actually 34 percent of Colgate students drink alcohol 12 or more times a month.”These posters are designed using the results of the CORE survey to correct Colgate students’ perceptions regarding their peers’ behaviors.The CORE survey also tracks student involvement in campus activities, such as sports and community service, allowing schools to get an idea of the prevalence of positive behaviors as well.User IDs and passwords will be sent out in a campus mailing early next week. Students who participate in the survey will be eligible to win one of numerous prizes being made available by Project Wellness. In addition, the first 100 students to participate in the survey will receive a Barge Coffee Canal Co. token for a free coffee or tea.For more information, contact Project Wellness at [email protected], or refer to the CORE website at