for Campus Alcohol Abuse Prevention
Reform the Norms. If we continue to tell students how bad they are and that everyone is drunk on campus, they will continue to try to "fit in" to that perceived norm. We must start communicating positive, healthy norms. (This concept draws on the work of Michael Haines at Northern Illinois University and Wes Perkins at Hobart and Smith College in New York.)
Emphasize "life" skills. Our students heard the lecture on alcohol abuse in high school. They don't want to hear it again. But they do want to hear about other matters pertinent to their daily lives stress, social situations, relationships, etc. and how to cope with these, without abusive drinking.
Make personal responsibility mean something. We are referring to what the word "responsible" used to mean, i.e., "We are going to hold you responsible for your actions." We don't need new or tougher policies on most campuses we just need to follow through with and take seriously the ones we have.
Empower students. When we organize student leaders to take charge of their environment, they want it, own it and protect it. When something belongs to them when they have a clear stake in an issue they will be motivated to make the best of it.
Let students teach students. College students make decisions based on attitudes, not information. And their attitudes are formed primarily by the influence of their peers. They listen better to each other, than to us.
David Hellstrom, Director of Education, The BACCHUS and GAMMA Peer Education Network