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DePauw’s High-Risk Drinking Culture on the Decline

DePauw’s High-Risk Drinking Culture on the Decline

July 15, 2019

Student running on path in front of Hoover Dining Hall

High-risk drinking at DePauw University has declined as a result of the institution’s commitment to preventing alcohol-related harms through programming and support. 

Over the course of two years, DePauw students have decreased their high-risk drinking by 11% and students drink one fewer drink per occasion on average than in past years. Fewer students are reporting missing class or assignments because of alcohol use and fewer students are reporting consequences such as forgetting where they were or what they did. 

The data come from the Indiana College Substance Use Survey, an instrument developed by the Indiana Collegiate Action Network and the Indiana Prevention Resource Center and funded by the Indiana Division of Mental Health and Addiction. 

The DePauw Collaborative, the university’s alcohol and drug task force, has focused on reducing high-risk drinking for three years. Student leaders, staff and faculty members and partners from DePauw Health compose the collaborative, which concentrates  uses evidence-based strategies from the CollegeAIM.

These strategies included increasing awareness about the dangers of high-risk drinking by advertising in The DePauw, on signs and bookmarks and distributing bracelets to students. The collaborative also has partnered with fraternities and sororities to urge them to follow their own and the university’s policies. DePauw hosted a summit last spring with several fraternal organizations to improve communication among their leaders, student leaders and DePauw staff. 

“Our approach has been to target high-risk behaviors on multiple levels, and we are now seeing the fruits of this labor,” said Julia Sutherlin, assistant dean of campus life and director of substance abuse prevention and education. “This is important work for the health and safety of our students, not only during their time here at DePauw but to cultivate habits that contribute to positive long-term health.”