Your role on talking alcohol with students

We hope your semester is off to a good start. Thank you for supporting members of the Badger family as they navigate UW-Madison. As another academic year begins we want to remind you of the critical role you play in discouraging alcohol misuse among students. Whether you’re a UW-Madison staff, faculty member, or teaching assistant, you are expected to balance being a confidant and authority figure in your role. It can be challenging.

University Health Services (UHS), in partnership with UW-Madison, administered the American College Health Association’s National College Health Assessment (ACHA-NCHA). Below are some results along with data collected from AlcoholEdu:

  • 44% of UW-Madison undergraduate students are considered high-risk drinkers (NCHA, 2015)
  • 36% of freshman students have blacked out due to drinking (AlcoholEdu, 2015)
  • 18% of first-year students reported performing poorly on a test or assignment due to alcohol (AlcoholEdu, 2015)

It’s important to work with together to help students make the most of their time on campus. Please consider the following when interacting with students about the topic of alcohol:

  1. Make students aware of the academic, occupational and personal consequences of high-risk drinking.
  2. Although it may seem like a good way to relate to students, sharing your tales of drinking exploits from college are harmful to students. A reminder that laughing about the “good old days” appears to give your stamp of approval to irresponsible behavior. Today’s college students do not drink for the same reasons that students drank 25 years ago. Today, twice as many students drink with the intention of getting drunk, compared to 1980.
  3. Be a role model in social interactions with students. It’s important for students to see the professionals they respect enjoying themselves at events without alcohol and drinking sensibly when alcohol is present.
  4. Avoid jokes about alcohol consumption by students or others.
  5. Intervene if you observe a student who is exhibiting behaviors associated with alcohol misuse. Students can get help through walk-in appointments at the UHS Counseling and Consultation Services, 333 East Campus Mall, 7th Floor, Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
  6. Occasionally, a student’s behaviors will rise above normal interactions causing a level of concern. Any student who is displaying behaviors that may interfere with a student’s ability to be successful at the university or disrupts the learning of others, please consider filling out a Student of Concern Report Form: https://cm.maxient.com/reportingform.php?UnivofWisconsinMadison&layout_id=2

Remember: Help is available, and Badgers take care of each other.
For as much we want students to consider the consequences of high-risk drinking, they should also know that bystanders who act responsibly and victims who are hurt while underage drinking are generally not subject to disciplinary action.

Reminders to students:

Thank you for your dedication to our students. Have a great semester and please reach out to the Dean of Students office if you have questions regarding our shared responsibility in helping our students succeed academically.

On, Wisconsin!