Alcohol & College Life

Course Description

Alcohol & College Life focuses on prevention strategies to maximize student and campus safety by providing students with factual and unbiased information about how alcohol and other substances affect college life, regardless of whether or not students choose to drink or use substances. In addition, Alcohol & College Life incorporates strategies to enhance academics, time management, self–care, financial wellness, and interpersonal communication.

Course Themes

What are the most prevalent substances used and misused on college campuses today?

  • How the prevalence of alcohol, tobacco, cannabis, and prescription drugs has changed over time
  • How peer group influences substance use–perceptions and behaviors
  • Tactics used by the alcohol and tobacco industries to recruit users
  • Substance use–related campus policies, and local, state, and federal laws
  • Substance misuse prevention efforts by higher education professionals

How do substances affect the body? At what point is someone impaired?

  • Understand the effects of alcohol, tobacco, and cannabis use on major organs and systems of the body, including the impact on adolescent development
  • Using the Epidemiological Model to explore differences based on external and internal characteristics of individuals
  • Identifying the physiological and psychological characteristics of intoxication

How can substances be used responsibly? What are the negative outcomes of substance misuse experienced by both users and others?

  • Strategies for safer use of substances for those who choose to use
  • Planning for safer party experiences regardless of the use of substances
  • Research on the causes and effects of peer pressure
  • Warning signs of substance misuse and criteria for a substance use disorder
  • Strategies for talking to someone about their substance use
  • Components of substance use treatment and efficacy of various treatment options

What strategies help students to be healthy and successful in college?

  • Tips for time management and academic success
  • How to maintain financial wellness
  • Importance of healthy relationships and strategies for effective communication, self–care, seeking support, and working towards balance across the various dimensions of wellness

What strategies can be used to effectively intervene in a variety of situations?

  • Strategies for effective intervention
  • Seeking help in a substance use overdose
  • Affirmative consent and sexual communication
  • Correlation between substance use, sexual health, and sexual assault
  • Resources and services related to sexual assault

What roles have substances played throughout history and what are the goals of prevention?

  • The history and evolution of substance use, laws, and policies shapes our current understanding
  • Sociocultural circumstances and the ways they influence exposure to, use of, and public and political response to substances
  • Public health strategies to prevent substance misuse across the lifespan
Opening quotes

I think this course has really helped me to realize my full potential and reach my goals.

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I have noticed an increase in my confidence. I am more assertive when sticking up for others and I am no longer a passive bystander.

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Opening quotes

This class was very helpful to me in restructuring my life so that I can succeed and be happy in college. It also made me aware of my drinking habits and how to use alcohol more safely.

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Opening quotes

I think every student should have to take this course. It does not require much of your time, but the information in each lesson is something that every college student should be educated on.

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This course made me more aware of the things I do regarding substance use and my own health. While I feel confident about my behavior because it follows my values, I think this course has made me more concerned and willing to help others who are demonstrating dangerous behavior, because I am more aware of the consequences.

Closing quotes

Among Fall 2018 enrolled students in Alcohol & College Life at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities who completed their course evaluation, 97% self‐reported increases in awareness of campus services/resources and others’ perspectives related to course topics. In addition, not only did they report increased confidence in applying the information and skills learned in the course, but also actual changes in their behaviors. The degree of change—somewhat, moderately, or very—slightly differed for each of these items.

students’ self-reported increases Fall 2018