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VI NAY S RI NI VAS AN

PARTY FOUL: HOW SOCIAL


FACTORS AFFECT POMONA
UNDERCLASSMEN IN
NAVIGATING THEIR RISK
OF FALLING ILL AT SCHOOL
BACKGROUND
College is a pretty high risk place for disease to get
around base this off the physical.
Not really a something that is abating
Could there macro-level factors at play affecting
how underclassmen navigate their risk of falling ill?

Physical Risks:
Proximity,
Communal
Spaces,
Sharing
PRIMARY QUESTIONS
What motivates people to go to parties and social
gatherings at the risk of falling ill (or infecting
others)?
What are students perceptions and behaviors
associated with illness risk at college, and what do
they think of their peers risk?
How large are the roles of psychological stressors
and social pressures in governing how students
navigate this risk of falling ill (or infecting others)?
METHODS/REFLEXIVITY
Interviewed 11 Underclassmen(?) from Pomona
Lasted 15-45 mins
Semi-structured
Formal Participant Observation at Two Parties from
Two different Perspectives as well as more informal
opportunities
Disease?
Experiences as member of studied population
Ironically didnt fall ill till this past weekend.
FINDINGS
Academics are the largest stressor, but its social
stress that motivates people to go out
People care about their own health, but they dont
really think too much about getting sick
Familiar Problems: Social Risk Trumps Viral Risk in the
College Setting

I DIDNT WANT TO BE LABELLED AS
THE MONO GIRL

Interacting factors first year desire to make/maintain
new friends, social expectations about first weeks of
college, all or nothing emphasis on beginning of year

The first week of meeting people I get mono.. I was like
THIS SUCKs. I dont want people to know me that way. I
really didnt want it to hold me back in any way, in any
part of my college experience, so I was like well, Im
going to go out anyways.

Result: Goes out while infected with Mono, puts self at
risk and disrupts others abilities to navigate own risk
Ballroom, hallway not isolated
SOME POLICY POSSIBILITIES
Emphasis of first year
interlocutors on
influence of older
students in
dis/encouraging party
attendance turn
tables
Attack extreme view of
quickly closing social
window less necessity
Incorporate forms of
harm reduction
LIMITATIONS
Inexperience with Ethnography
General, large project crammed into small study
with arbitrary constraints
Logistical Mishaps