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Great coaches develop their players’ skills and encourage them to reach their maximum potential in order to achieve success.  On game day, however, it is up to the players to prove themselves.  An analogy can be drawn between sports and how to deal with high-risk drinking on college campuses nationwide.

A recent news article brings to light one more time the continuous challenges that colleges, universities and communities nationwide face as they try to deal with students’ high-risk drinking.  We’ve all seen the numbers…we’ve all heard of possible solutions on how to best tackle this health and safety issue. Sadly, we face the reality of yet another young life truncated as a result of dangerous overconsumption of alcohol on a college campus setting.

Changing a culture of overconsumption requires the collaboration of all members of the campus community.  Students’ participation in finding creative and innovative approaches to engage their peers is essential if any progress is to be made. 

The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility believes students must ultimately decide that high-risk drinking has no place on their campus, but they must communicate it their own way.  That’s why the Foundation has supported student campaigns that fight binge drinking on more than half a dozen campuses as a way to help students find their own voice on this issue. 

Whether acknowledging personal responsibility to being part of bystander interventions or campus-wide educational efforts, there are plenty of opportunities for students to make a difference.  The University of Alabama’s Less Than U Think award-winning student-led initiative is a great example of how students can have an active role in being part of the solution. 

As a college senior recently stated:  “I’ve observed high-risk consumption among some of my peers. I have taken care of friends who had a little too much to drink, and who were acting in ways they wouldn’t have if they weren’t drunk, or scarier yet, those who started throwing up and feeling sick, and for whom I debated whether to call the campus’ emergency medical services and who caused me a great deal of worry. Does a college experience have to include such worry and such risk to one’s health?”

Leading a healthy lifestyle; making responsible and safe decisions; taking care of each other; and, making a positive impact in their campus community can be a tough call for many college students.  Like players in a sports team, it might be good to remember that in the end, when it really counts: “Winning is up to me!”