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UT Launches Online Alcohol Education Program

Published: August 24, 2007

For the first time, The University of Tampa will require all first-year students to complete an online alcohol prevention program immediately upon arrival this fall. This decision reflects The University of Tampa’s commitment to the health and welfare of its students, especially in regard to high-risk drinking. Students began arriving on campus Aug. 20.

“We have a responsibility to help ensure the safety of our students,” said Associate Dean of Students Gina Firth. “Instead of allowing high-risk drinking to affect our campus, we are working to get out ahead of the problem, educating students about the dangers associated with high-risk drinking and providing appropriate prevention programs and resources to students.”

The program, AlcoholEdu® for College, is designed to assist students in making good decisions concerning alcohol. Developed by Boston-based Outside The Classroom Inc., the program is administered to students to help change the campus drinking culture.

Used at more than 500 institutions and Greek organizations nationwide, the curriculum integrates proven prevention strategies and scientific-based findings into a non-opinionated, personalized educational program. AlcoholEdu for College also includes three confidential surveys to help institutions understand the effectiveness of its efforts following the completion of the program.

Researchers at the University of Illinois found that students who completed AlcoholEdu for College experienced approximately 50 percent fewer negative health, social and academic consequences than students who had not taken the program.

“The purpose of the college experience is to educate students and give them the tools to be successful,” Firth said. “The University of Tampa is confident that our prevention programs will have a lasting impact on our students and stay with them beyond their collegiate career.”

Over the past several years, The University of Tampa has built a comprehensive prevention and student assistance program through:

  • Collaborations with area prevention and treatment professionals and local coalitions, such as the Tampa Alcohol Coalition and the Hillsborough Anti-Drug Alliance.
  • Creation of its own campus coalition, titled Coalition for an Alcohol Responsible Environment (C.A.R.E.), which consists of students, staff, faculty and community members to complement the community coalition’s efforts to address the issue of underage drinking.
  • Implementation of on-going social norm campaigns that challenge college student misperceptions of their peers’ alcohol use.
  • Creation of peer education programs.
  • Expansion of late-night and weekend programming and services for students.

  • The Harvard School of Public Health released a study in 2002 announcing that two out of five undergraduate college students are high-risk drinkers and that this rate has remained constant since 1993. The most recent report from the National Institute of Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse (NIAAA) states that the problem of college drinking exceeds previous estimates, citing more than 1,700 alcohol-related deaths and 2.1 million cases of driving under the influence in 2002. The NIAAA also suggest 599,000 injuries, 97,000 sexual assaults, and 159,000 first-year student dropouts are due to alcohol and other drugs every year.