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With some questionable health advice being posted by your friends on Facebook, politicians arguing about the state of the American healthcare system and a new medical study being summarized in just a sentence or two on TV---that seems to contradict the study you heard summarized yesterday---it can be overwhelming to navigate the ever-changing landscape of health news.

To Your Health: College Students and Drinking

It’s estimated that about 1,800 college students die from alcohol-related injuries and accidents every year. So, as Southeast students are finishing their spring break this week, a time notoriously associated with excess drinking and with the news that the university will be a “wet” campus next year, let’s look at helping prevent college-aged students from developing alcohol use disorder.

By helping to stop alcohol abuse before it starts, universities are saving lives.

First, research suggests trying to end the problem before it starts! Offering fun, late night programming around campus is a powerful way for universities to provide students with an alternative to drinking.

Second, when campuses offer a clear message, anti-drinking campaigns are more effective. Competing environmental messages such as signs and advertisements for alcohol, as well as visible alcohol consumption at campus events can increase misperceptions of peer drinking.

Finally, using messaging that appeals to students’ sense of independence gives them a sense of control without feeling as though someone is directly telling them “no”. This strategy could prevent students from feeling targeted or dared to engage in the dangerous behavior.



Hanke, E. (2020). When drinking becomes a problem: Alcohol misuse and abuse in College. New Directions for Student Services, 2020(170), 23–36.

McBride, N. M., Barrett, B., Moore, K. A., & Schonfeld, L. (2014). The Role of Positive Alcohol Expectancies in Underage Binge Drinking Among College Students. Journal of American College Health, 62(6), 370–379.

Content for this segment was created by Lexi Ross as part of a project for EA615: Wellness in Higher Education, taught by Dr. Clubbs. She graduated with her Master of Arts in Higher Education Administration and a Graduate Certificate in Trauma and Resiliency Studies in May 2023 and works as a professional academic advisor.

Dr. Brooke Hildebrand Clubbs is an assistant professor in the Department of Leadership, Middle & Secondary Education. She writes for special publications of The Southeast Missourian and is a certified Community Health Worker.