By Stacie Schroeder |

The intent of this post is to show the dire need for community involvement in preventing college drinking. We commend Upper Iowa University and other local colleges for the steps they are taking to prevent this concern and keep their students safe.

Drinking is part of the college culture, and it’s no different at Upper Iowa University (UIU) or our other local colleges. Nationally, 65 percent of college students reported they have consumed alcohol in the past 30 days (National College Health Assessment, Spring 2012).

How are you connected to the college drinking scene?

Why should you be concerned? College students participate in high-risk drinking more often than others. They tend to drink underage and bunch their drinks into heavy episodes of drinking. Alcohol use by college student can have a range of harmful consequences including decreased academic performance, assault, sexual abuse, unsafe sex, drunk driving, alcohol dependence, and death.

College student drinking also affects the surrounding community. Second-hand effects include property damage, theft, vandalism, noise, disturbances, trash, and litter. Upper Iowa loses tuition revenue from students that drop out or fail to re-enroll. Fewer numbers of enrolled students also contribute to lost revenue in local shops, stores, and rental properties.

This is not just a UIU issue. It’s a Fayette problem.

As a community member, you may already be aware of the consequences of high-risk drinking on college campuses. Perhaps you have a firsthand experience. But you may not know what you can do to address this threat. Here’s your opportunity: be a member of FCSAC, the Fayette County Substance Abuse Coalition. This coalition, with support from us at Helping Services, has been working closely with Upper Iowa University to connect the school’s employees, students, and the surrounding community to enact solutions for this issue.

What’s being done to prevent this problem?

The coalition collects data that helps determine strategies best fit to prevent binge and underage drinking. Some members also facilitate student education, and as a whole, the coalition supports alcohol-free events and activities. These efforts affect the total drinking environment, on campus and off, and help achieve our goal: changing the culture of drinking in our college community.

To get plugged into the coalition, or learn more about reducing college student high-risk drinking in Fayette, contact Stacie Schroeder at sschroeder@helpingservices.org or (563) 380-7983.

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