Prevention Roles for University Personnel
University faculty and other campus employees can support campus alcohol/drug prevention efforts in a variety of ways:
- Serve as a role model. This doesn’t mean faculty and staff have to become a teetotaler, but it does mean they have to be responsible about time, place, amount, and frequency of alcohol consumption. Role modeling also allows the opportunity to demonstrate to students that celebrating or commiserating with friends can be done without alcoholic beverages.
- Avoid jokes about heavy drinking. Comments about “the rough weekend” or questions about “partying a little hard?” tend to normalize heavy drinking. Such comments also marginalize the non-drinkers or low-risk drinkers, even if those students are usually the majority.
- Create mentoring relationships. Students with connections to older, responsible students or to faculty tend to be lower-risk drinkers.
- Hold high expectations for student efforts, work habits, behavior, and performance. Communicate those expectations. Hold students accountable.
- Share information about accurate norms. Too often students have inflated perceptions about college drinking rates, and they tend to think that a typical college student drinks heavily and frequently. Such misperceptions can lead to the conclusion that heavy drinking is the way to fit in and make friends in college. Let students know that most students make reasonably low-risk choices.
- Help students build a social life. Share information about campus activities, community events, volunteer opportunities, Fine Arts Center productions, V-Hawk games and matches, intramurals, and campus clubs. Some students may need some specific information about how to get involved. Help them make that first step. Ask advisees and work study students how they are adjusting to college and what they are doing for fun.
- Incorporate alcohol and drug information and assignments into classroom curricula when appropriate. Include discussion of the topic in meetings with advisees. Invite the campus peer educators to speak in one of your classes. Give extra credit opportunities for students attending campus or community prevention programs.