Alcohol-Free College Initiatives

By Tonka Dobreva 02.02.2015 interact

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAA), “abusive and underage college drinking are significant public health problems, and they exact an enormous toll on the intellectual and social lives of students on campuses across the United States.” NIAA estimates that, each year, 599,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24 are unintentionally injured under the influence of alcohol.

In the United States, 14 grams of pure alcohol are considered a standard drink — which is equal to 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits.

More and more campuses today are recognizing the importance of providing alcohol-free social, recreational and other extracurricular options that deter students from high-risk alcohol use. According to a 2008 survey, nearly 90 percent of colleges sponsored substance-free events.  The same report reveals that students are showing strong interest in alcohol-free activities –with 55 percent of respondents indicating interest in events that do not focus on alcohol.

The Alcohol Prevention Coalition released this report explaining how some colleges are taking action to promote healthy, substance-free campuses — here are some of the initiatives and the results that followed:

  • During its 2008 Grand Prix Race, Purdue University hosted a number of alcohol-free activities, and the institution saw a nearly 30 decrease in the number of arrests made during that week.
  • The University of Michigan in 2007 launched its UMix Late Night program held on many Friday nights from 10:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. The events usually offer free food and entertainment. The university surveyed the students who attended UMix Late Night and found that the majority of students who reported occasionally or often drinking on Friday nights drank less on the nights they attended UMix. The overwhelming majority of attendees also reported that they did not drink before or after attending the event.
  • North Dakota State University created a Club NDSU which provides students with free and safe activities that are alternative to drinking and educate with information about alcohol. Researchers found that students had positive perceptions of Club NDSU — calling it a “cool option” for a social activity and rating it as exciting or very exciting. Most students also said that the program was better than going to a bar or party where alcohol was served. NDSU also discovered a 25 percent decrease in alcohol policy violations per 1,000 students.
  • The University of Alabama (UA) offers a AlcoholEdu® for College course, which has a student engagement component. Students taking the course can sign up to receive an invitation to either attend or help plan alcohol-free activities and events, such as bowling, community service and movie nights. As a result, in the fall of 2008, UA held two alcohol-free tailgates on the student quad with a variety of food offerings and live music. Over 400 students attended the second tailgate.
  • Brown University created a health education campaign to address pregaming before alcohol and alcohol-free events. The university coordinated a public initiative to advertise a campus dance before an event, indicating that intoxicated students will not be permitted. According to Ricky Gresh, Senior Director for Student Engagement at Brown, “Now, several years later, the pregaming culture around this particular event has completely changed, and the event continues to be a success from the student perspective.” Brown now encourages more alternative pre-events earlier in the evening to deter pregaming and has launched a “Late Night” fund to encourage student organizations to create more alcohol-free events on Friday and Saturday nights.


  1. tyquan young

    i think the score i made well

  2. Drerock3000

    Even though it is the right thing to do, college students should be able to have alcohol on special occasions, but on the other hand they can get carried away with it.

  3. jeffery waters

    That is good because they don’t need be having alcohol in school

    • jidowj

      Yea, we should it is much safe

  4. mikayla

    I think they are doing whats right,because,the people today are doing the wrong and need to be set down the right path,help our kids.

  5. pilot

    I think there are doing the right thing to SET KIDS STAIGHT! If kids learn now that its bad it will have a infulance throughout there lives

  6. George righter

    it really not to banned the drunk thing and I think it really hurt people feel and people think that we don’t have a life

  7. theleopardjillias123

    I think the ban will affect college life by having less people getting hospitalised and raped. And I think the ban is a good thing.

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