Alcohol-awareness education now required for freshmen
By TRACEY EASTMAN
Alcohol is the causeindirectly or directlyof the vast majority of transitional issues experienced by students entering college, according to student affairs officials.
To better understand the health and wellness repercussions of alcohol, UB freshmen now will participate in AlcoholEdu, a three-hour, online, science-based course that will help students understand the effects of alcohol on mind and body.
All UB freshmen attending orientation will receive information about the program and will be required to complete Part 1 of the course before they come to campus for classes.
"College is a challenging time when new students are faced with many critical decisions," says Dennis R. Black, vice president for student affairs. "Deciding how they will deal with alcohol is one of the first and most important decisions they will face. So beginning this summer, all new UB students are required to participate in AlcoholEdu."
AlcoholEdu is offered by Outside The Classroom, a Boston-based company that was founded to address epidemic-level, public health issues affecting educational, corporate and government institutions. According the company's Web site, it focuses its efforts on high-risk drinking, and its programs have been successfully implemented by more than 450 colleges and high schools nationwide.
The company cites data from 70,000 students who completed AlcoholEdu for College in the summer and fall of 2005 that it says demonstrates the effects of the program. After taking the course, 74 percent of participants say they now know more about blood-alcohol concentration (BAC) and 43 percent of men know more about how alcohol affects consent for sex. Seventy-two percent of participants would recommend the program to other students.
Moreover, students who took the course reported significantly fewer negative personal, health and academic consequences.
"This is not an over-simplified lecture about alcohol," Black says. "It is a thoughtful and scientific program designed for adults to help them make informed decisions. Whether or not students drink, AlcoholEdu will help them make healthier and safer decisions, and balance their social life with their academic life."
The AlcoholEdu course, which will be run on campus by Wellness Education Services, includes three surveys that gather information on student attitudes and behaviors. Freshman students will receive an email in their UB account in late July, with logon instructions and directions for taking the course. All incoming freshmen are expected to complete Part 1 of AlcoholEdu (Chapters 1-3) by Aug. 25UB's Opening Weekendbefore they come to campus for classes in the fall.
Parts 2 and 3 of the survey will be conducted several weeks later.
All survey responses are strictly confidential; UB only will receive information about the student body as a whole and will not receive individual student's answers.
For more information on AlcoholEdu, go to http://www.outsidetheclassroom.com/ prodandserv/higher/alcoholEdu_college/.