Alcohol & First Year Students

Have You Noticed the Bleary Eyes? Alcohol & First Year Students

Alcohol 101"That was a great party last night," I overheard when indulging in my much needed Starbucks fix.   The conversation continued as my Grande Non-fat Two Pump Vanilla Latte (just in case anyone wants to bring me one) was prepared, "she was so ******* drunk, I don't think she'll be at class today."   Do you remember those days?  I do.    I was one of those kids who never really wanted to get in trouble so while I pushed a few boundaries in high school - alcohol was not one of them.  College provided that new-found freedom for experimentation.   Those times are long gone for me; however, they certainly are not for our first-year students who for the first time may be far from the watchful eye of parents and guardians.  Undoubtedly, many of our students have started their foray into this new (or old) and potentially dangerous world.    While most of our students do not drink or drink responsibly, nearly a third of our students have their academic performance (attendance / GPA) impacted by alcohol and other drugs.

What can we do to help our students make wise choices regarding alcohol and other drugs?  Believe it or not, even the casual conversation in a classroom is an intervention, and every intervention helps.  You could have John Baltzer, our resident AOD Counselor, or a Peer Health Educator come to your class (contact information below).  Ask your class to respond to a journal prompt that may provide an entry point to start a conversation.   John Baltzer has written  a number of journal prompts that are available in your UNIV 103:  Faculty Handbook.  Your peer mentors, who live in the residence halls with our students, may be able to provide insights into problem behaviors.

Also, please keep in mind the resources we have available to you. 

  • Peer Educators would be more than happy to come to your class to discuss the use of alcohol. They offer an excellent program called "Party 101" that covers many important topics.
  • The Counseling Center has counselors specifically designated for alcohol and other drug problems. You may always refer students to the counseling center. Help the student make the appointment, maybe even offer to walk him over to the office if you think it's necessary.
  • The Counseling Center Website has a self-assessment tools that allow students to reflect on their use of alcohol and marijuana. Check out Alcohol Use: The Survey. Students do receive a confirmation of completion that they can print out, so it is another way to offer some credit.
Graphic Source: Millersville University Stall Talk, Volume 1, Fall 2012.