Reshaping the students’ environment to promote positive health decisions is essential in addressing alcohol and other drug use. The U.S. Department of Education’s Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse and Violence Prevention has identified several different factors in the environment that contribute to this problem, each of which exists to varying degrees from campus to campus. These factors include the lack of alcohol-free recreational options available to students, the notion that alcohol and other drug use is a normal part of the college experience, the easy access students have to alcohol, aggressive and prolific alcohol marketing targeted to college students, and lack of or un-enforced campus policies and community laws to address alcohol and other drug use.
In response to these problem areas we have developed five strategies to achieve environmental change.
Campus administrators should make every effort to provide a variety of alcohol-free social, recreational, extracurricular and public service options to students, many of which they may engage in spontaneously when study or other breaks arise.
Campus officials should work to create a social, academic and residential environment that supports healthy decisions and promotes positive and healthy norms among students.
Campuses and surrounding communities should aim to develop and enforce campus policies and community laws to curb student alcohol and other drug use, and to enforce them as stringently and consistently as possible.
Prevention efforts should seek to limit the availability of alcohol to students both on- and off- campus.
Aggressive marketing and promotion of alcohol beverages targeted to students should be curtailed both on- and off- campus.