The Seattle Times and Walla Walla Union-Bulletin recently reported on Washington State University’s (WSU’s) efforts to curb high-risk drinking on its campus. Sadly, the creation of a task force to provide guidance and recommendations to administrators on how to deal with this safety and health issue tends to be the go-to approach followed by many institutions after a tragedy occurs. This course of action is reactive rather than proactive, but at least it is a step in the right direction.

The university’s interest in implementing a “multi-pronged” approach – which includes alcohol education, screening and intervention, and collaboration with the ER – combined with its intention to involve all stakeholders, is encouraging.

At The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility we believe that a comprehensive approach that includes students’ participation is essential if any progress is to be made. The positive impact students can have in lending their voice and assuming a leadership role in addressing the issue of high-risk drinking on college campuses is evidenced by these award-winning student-led campaigns.

This news story should serve as a reminder of the importance of preventative efforts against high-risk drinking. At the same time, let us celebrate the fact that Washington State University has taken steps to better educate its students about the consequences of high-risk drinking and to change campus culture to prevent such tragedies from happening again. We look forward to reading the task force’s final report in the coming weeks.