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Parent Awareness

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College Alcohol Culture-Building Parental Awareness


Challenges parents face in addressing campus drinking issues:

1.      Recognizing and the accepting that campus drinking is a risk for your child

         Even if the high school years were completed without alcohol being a problem, what freshman encounter on many campuses is much different that the in your community

         Often, the campus alcohol culture is much more pervasive and more difficult to avoid

         A freshman now without his or her accustomed peer and adult support groups may find him or herself with three choices:

        Go home on weekends assuming home is sufficiently close to make this practical (many find that their friends of similar views who do live close to campus are absent on weekends), 

        Become a social shut-in and avoid those activities which involve alcohol, or

        Join in with the drinkers.

2.      Understanding why so many colleges do on aggressively address campus alcohol issues:

         Legal environment which is generally not favorable in holding colleges and universities responsible for student safety

         Ineffective enforcement of a well-written federal law addressing campus drinking practices

         Pressure from students

         Pressure from alumni who may hold back donations if administrators too aggressively enforce standards of conduct

         Culture so engrained that:

         Upper classmen pass on developed practices to freshmen, although seemingly with increasing excesses

         Administrators develop belief that underage and excess campus drinking is inevitable

         Many view as drinking as a right of passage, but the percent of students participating is constantly increasing

3.      Making the college selection process more effective

         At open houses, ask pointed question regarding campus alcohol policies and enforcement.

         Make inquires as to recent tragedies involving alcohol on campus.  Internet searches facilitate these efforts.

         Determine nature and popularity of weekend campus activities which do not involve alcohol.

         Question present students who are not necessarily in a role where they are selling the campus. 

         Once your child has narrowed his or her choices, ask for a copy of the biennial review.

4.      Preparing your college student for the challenges

5.       Continuing parent awareness and communication while they are away

         Read the campus newspaper.

         Inquire whether statistics are available for the number of students referred to medical treatment for alcohol poisoning.  Privacy issues make such facts difficult to obtain, but the very question increases awareness and elicits interesting responses

         Continuously talk to your child regarding alcohol issues.

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Concerned about the drinking culture on campuses?

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In loving Memory of Kristine Guest