We are Number 1! is a shout that is often heard. Seldom do we hear anyone celebrate the fact that they rank lower than first. But sometimes it is better to be #2 or lower rather than hold the top spot.

Two area institutions of higher education are touting the fact that they are NOT #1. Wesleyan College of Macon and Agnes Scott College of Decatur were recently ranked #8 and #14 respectively as “stone cold sober schools.” The rankings are a part of the Princeton Review’s 2013 edition of “The Best 377 Colleges,” a book that contains 62 lists of all aspects of college life.

The Number One spot for “stone cold sober” schools went to Brigham Young University for the 15th straight year. Students on the Provo, Utah campus celebrated the honor by using the hashtag, “soberisthenewcool,” on Twitter.

The Princeton review also names the top “party schools.” West Virginia University received this recognition. The University of Georgia was ranked #5 this year. UGA earned the highest ranking in 2010 and then dropped to the second spot in 2011. Five other schools in the southeast ranked in the top 20.

Wikipedia identifies a “party school” as “a college or university…that has a reputation of heavy alcohol and drug use or a general culture of licentiousness.” In contrast, schools on the “stone cold sober” list had a combination of high personal study hours (outside of class) and a relatively low use of alcohol and drugs on campus.

Unlike college football ratings, the Bulldogs should be proud of their decline in this poll. Likewise, Wesleyan College (a good United Methodist institution) and Agnes Scott College should stand tall and celebrate this acknowledgement.

This presents a good opportunity for parents, faculty, administrators, family and friends to encourage wise choices and healthy lifestyles- both in precept and practice.

Jamie Jenkins