Question. Next fall our son will be off to college, independent and free to make decisions without our guidance, not that he’s asked for much help recently. As far as we can ascertain, he’s been responsible in terms of his alcohol use but we’re concerned whether he’ll be able to manage the pressures of drinking when he’s on his own. The recent “alcohol-related” deaths at CU and CSU terrify us. Everything we’ve read indicates that alcohol use is commonplace on all campuses. We know we can’t protect him forever. Are there any colleges with alcohol-free dorms or better yet, any colleges without alcohol? – Parents in Parker, Colorado
Answer. You have taught your child to be a responsible human being who has gained your trust as indicated by your question. He probably has taken an alcohol-related health course at his high school and knows the problems associated with binge and heavy drinking. He also understands the consequences of drinking relative to athletics and academics. Yet knowing all this, there are still the temptations and peer pressure most students experiences when they live the campus life, free from parental support.
Naturally ongoing conversations with him prior to leaving for college will be helpful. Also, more schools are providing in depth seminars about the hazards of “binge’ drinking. However if he feels as concerned about this issue as you do, he might want to consider an alcohol and drug free residence hall, which many colleges provide. There are also colleges throughout the country, which claim to be alcohol-free. These are typically connected with religious-based institutions. You might want to find schools, which offer a BACCHUS or GAMMA alcohol-responsible fraternity (http://www.bacchusgamma.org). The US Department of Education’s Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Drug Prevention offers a “report card” on several dozen colleges and their level of alcohol prevention on campus at http://www.edc.org/hec/ideasamplers/#offering. Check it out.
With all the recent alcohol-related news plus legislation currently being considered, it is obvious there’s a lot of work to be done to change the “booze culture” on college campuses and prevent reoccurrences of the alcohol-related deaths last year at CU and CSU.