Alcohol Use on College Campuses
Information below from Higher Education Center Publications www.higheredcenter.org
Research indicates that while alcohol use on campus overall has remained fairly steady on a national level, the nature and extent of drinking that contribute to the overall figures can vary. For instance, data from the Harvard School of Public Health’s College Alcohol Study (CAS) demonstrate increasing polarization of drinkers, with both higher percentages of those abstaining and those frequently engaging in heavy drinking, while percentages of drinkers “in the middle”—either non–heavy drinkers or occasional heavy drinkers—fell. There is also data to indicate that while women lagged behind their male peers for many years with respect to their alcohol intake, they have been catching up, with increased alcohol use.
Examining figures more closely, it is clear that alcohol use from one campus to another can fluctuate considerably, and that regional patterns are also apparent. In particular, Northeast and Midwest campuses demonstrate higher levels of alcohol use compared with other areas of the nation, according to CAS and the Core Institute.
Research has also consistently pointed to particular populations of students tending to use more alcohol than others, namely fraternity and sorority members, athletes, and first-year students. White students also tend to drink more alcohol than Hispanic, American Indian, Asian and Pacific Islander, and African American college students.
All of these trends in alcohol use and the fluctuation of behaviors seen from one campus to another point to the need to carefully measure and examine the drinking behaviors on one’s own campus when embarking upon an effective approach to addressing the problem of college student alcohol abuse. With local data in hand, it is also important to compare individual campus figures with those of other colleges and universities. For this purpose, the CAS, Core Institute, and Monitoring the Future studies are invaluable sources of comparative data.
A deeper examination of the level and dimensions of alcohol abuse on college campuses can be found by reading the Higher Education Center’s publication Alcohol and Other Drugs on Campus—The Scope of the Problem. For more in-depth information on effective approaches to addressing alcohol abuse among college students, explore the Addressing High-Risk Drinking on Campus and Environmental Management sections of the Higher Ed site.
- The following site provides research, publications and resources for parents and young people related to college drinking.
CollegeDrinkingPrevention.gov is your one-stop resource for comprehensive research-based information on issues related to alcohol abuse and binge drinking among college students.
- The Higher Education Center provides support to all institutions of higher education in their efforts to address the problems of alcohol and other drug abuse and violence. The U.S. Department of Education established the Center to provide nationwide support for campus alcohol, other drug, and violence prevention efforts. The Center is working with colleges, universities, and proprietary schools throughout the country to develop strategies for changing campus culture, to foster environments that promote healthy lifestyles, and to prevent illegal alcohol and other drug use among students
- The University of Kentucky Student Wellness Ambassadors are dedicated to empowering their peers to live safe and balanced lifestyles by providing them with information, screenings, and resources in the areas of mental wellness, drugs, and alcohol abuse. This is a group of highly motivated and well-trained students who organize educational programs and events throughout campus and the community. The Wellness Ambassadors believe that all students have the right to make their own decisions on issues – they just help provide them with quality, research-based information.