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Polling Club Surveys Marijuana Use on College Campuses

In cooperation with The Suffolk Voice, Suffolk University’s new Polling Club is currently circulating an anonymous survey regarding marijuana use. Results from this survey will be compared to responses from students at other colleges in the surrounding area.

“I thought it was a great idea to be the first project we do, not only because it’s controversial, it’ll get a lot of people talking,” said Elainy Mata, a junior at Suffolk and the president and founder of Polling Club.

The survey consists of seven questions: What is your gender? What is your graduation class? Have you used marijuana? If so, how often? And in what form? Have you used it on campus? And lastly, what is your stance on the legalization of marijuana?

“I’ve made it 100% anonymous. We don’t track the IP that you’re using,” promised Mata, “The goal was to make people feel as comfortable as possible with this sort of topic because it can get a little bit touchy and not a lot of people like to talk about it.”

So far the survey has been shared primarily through social media and word of mouth. Friends of the Polling Club E-board have spread the survey to Emerson, Emmanuel, Boston College, Boston University, and UMass Amherst.

Emerson is most similar to Suffolk in that both are downtown schools with an unenclosed campus, “But of course it’s a different school,” said Mata, “It’s a different environment, different people, so we’re going to see if there’s a difference in location when it comes to use.”

Emmanuel has an enclosed campus, and BC and BU are in a different part of Boston, potentially providing interesting differences in the data. UMass Amherst is the outlier, located well outside of Boston. Amherst also has as smoke-free campus, but this doesn’t guarantee lower numbers when it comes to marijuana use.

“This sort of topic is really important for college students because this is our culture right now and we do need to focus on it and we can’t just leave out these sorts of topics because they’re taboo,” said Mata, “We need to talk about them and we need to expose them and we need to understand them a lot more, and this is definitely a way to do it.”

The final day to fill out the survey is currently undecided. Emmanuel has the most people polled so far, with 115 responses. Mata has considered holding this number as the standard for all schools, closing polls only once they receive 115 responses. The types of responses received so far are unknown.

“I have vowed to keep all the results a secret until everything is done,” said Mata.

When the results are compiled, they’ll be released through a Suffolk Voice article and a Polling Club blog or podcast. By writing or speaking about their process, Mata hopes more students will become interested in polling.

“We do want to put it out there more so people can understand what we’re doing and also realize that what we’re doing isn’t that boring and it’s not just political or it’s not just about government… It’s about public opinion and putting together public opinion and figuring out what it all means,” said Mata.

Mata welcomes anyone interested in starting a new poll or joining Polling Club to email for more information.

“I want them to see that it’s not boring, it’s actually extremely interesting. I’ve never been more excited to see rising numbers than in my bank account,” laughed Mata.

To take the Polling Club’s Suffolk University survey on marijuana, Suffolk students can take it  here.

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