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  September 3, 2002

University Adopts Online
Alcohol Education Program

Starting this month, all first-year students will take a three-hour interactive online course, AlcoholEduTM, about alcohol and its effects on the body.

"Binge drinking and other high-risk alcohol consumption can be a major problem for young men and women, especially early in their college careers," says John Saddlemire, dean of students.

"Research has shown that the strongest motivation for behavior change comes from relevant information delivered to students in effective and non-threatening ways. AlcoholEdu makes it easy and practical to provide pre-emptive education. We're happy to add this important tool to the many other things we are doing to educate our students about alcohol."

The University will also make AlcoholEdu available to other campus groups, including athletic teams, Greek organizations, and disciplinary referrals.

AlcoholEdu, an online program developed by Outside The Classroom Inc., a Boston-based health education company, comprises written material, multimedia video, personalized feedback, and interactive case studies. It also includes built-in assessment tools.

AlcoholEdu is typically given to entire first-year classes of students during their initial semester on campus - the critical time during which future attitudes and behaviors toward alcohol are determined. The program not only engages each individual, but also works to create a critical mass of informed, knowledgeable students.

The AlcoholEdu course is part of a broad educational program the University has developed to address drug and alcohol abuse.

Initiatives include a peer counseling network, an alcohol-screening day, a series of motivational speakers, and an alcohol resource library in Student Health Services.

A recent study by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism cites 1,400 alcohol-related deaths, 500,000 alcohol-related injuries, 70,000 alcohol-related sexual assaults, 2.1 million incidences of drunk driving, and 159,000 first-year student dropouts due to alcohol and drugs every year.

High-risk alcohol consumption has also been linked to a host of other problems, from poor academic performance to property damage in the communities around college campuses.

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