search articles: 

   from the issue of September 23, 2004

Study: UNL program helps cut binge drinking

An evaluation of efforts to reduce high-risk alcohol consumption on 10 campuses found that the program at UNL was one of the most successful.

The Harvard School of Public Health study found reductions in drinking rates and alcohol-related problems at colleges that most fully implemented the program model, "A Matter of Degree: The National Effort to Reduce High-Risk Drinking Among Students." The program fosters collaboration between universities and their communities to change environments around campuses that promote heavy alcohol consumption. The results were published in the October issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

UNL was one of 10 college communities participating in the program. The communities were monitored from 1997 through 2001 to evaluate success in reducing high-risk or binge drinking. Drinking and harm patterns from these 10 schools were compared to patterns at 32 other colleges from the national College Alcohol Study.

At the five program schools, including UNL, that incorporated more of the recommended policies and programs, significant changes were noted in drinking and related harms. These reductions did not occur at the group of sites that implemented fewer of these changes, nor at the 32 comparison colleges.

The evaluation found modest reductions - between 5 and 11 percent - in rates of binge drinking, frequent intoxication, taking up binge drinking in college, and in "usually binging when drinking" at the five program schools that incorporated more of the recommended policies and programs. Students who drank alcohol at these same five schools also experienced an 18 percent reduction in student experience of five or more alcohol-related problems, such as missing classes, getting in trouble with police, and getting hurt or injured, according to the report.

"Alcohol misuse by college students is not a problem that will go away simply by instituting a few programs," said James V. Griesen, co-chairman of the NU Directions Campus-Community Coalition, the "A Matter of Degree" program at UNL. "What the Harvard study tells us is that we must continue to work both on campus and in the community employing a high degree of interventions. No one group - college administrators, parents, hospitality establishments, students or the police - can take the task on alone."

For more information about "A Matter of Degree," visit



Book overflows with details of the Great Plains
First mid-semester program is Sept. 28-29
NU enrollment down slightly in 2004
A Piece of University History
Study: UNL program helps cut binge drinking
Wall Celebrates Athletic, Academic Honors
We all can help with recruitment