Research suggests that colleges and universities can reduce the heavy consumption of alcohol often associated with Thursday nights by scheduling classes on Friday mornings, especially classes required of freshmen and sophomore students.
A study of 3,341 undergraduate students at a large Midwestern public university found a very strong relationship between Friday class schedules and drinking on Thursday nights.
The authors report that “students with no Friday classes drank approximately twice as much on Thursdays as students with early Friday classes (i.e., mean drinks=1.24 for students with early Friday class vs. 2.41 for students with no Friday class). Students who had classes beginning at 12 pm. or later consumed similar amounts as those with no Friday classes.” Importantly, the researchers found little evidence for compensatory drinking on Friday and Saturday among those with early Friday classes.
The effect of Friday classes was especially strong among population groups, such as men and Fraternity members, that are more likely to consume alcohol at higher levels and engage in so-called binge drinking.
Scheduling classes on Friday mornings would be appear to be wise both as a no-cost way to reduce abusive drinking and also a way to utilize facilities more effectively and reduce the need for expensive new construction.