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Initiative to curb binge drinking on campus

By Rob Jauquet
On February 17, 2010

 

As heavy drinking escalates on campuses all over the country, the UW-La Crosse campus, as well as the La Crosse community, looks to increase the education, awareness, and prevention of alcohol abuse and its related consequences.

 

"I believe that there are a few factors that drive today's drinking culture. Over the years, media in commercials, television shows, and movies have certainly played a role," said Student Association City Affairs Director Tyler Burkart.

Burkart works directly with the city and with the UW-L Senate in committees like the La Crosse County Changing Culture Coalition, which looks to heighten the importance of healthy decision making on campus, especially involving alcohol.

He has also been working on a YouTube Contest on campus that is aimed at safe drinking.

"It is my belief that media has taken the wrong angle as far as addressing the issue. Instead of focusing on the individuals who make irresponsible decisions when it comes to alcohol usage, I would rather have the city and the media focus on those individuals who do make healthy decisions and are good role models for their peers," said Burkart.

While it is impossible to eliminate the threat of alcohol abuse, many students are starting to take the right steps towards a safer community.

"There are several students who drink responsibly by staying in the so-called "green" zone, which is basically drinking and then stopping when you reach a buzzed state," said Burkart "Therefore, the YouTube contest was established so that students can demonstrate their safety habits, which can range from designated drivers, stopping at the buzz, or not drinking at all."

Burkart also noted that many students ideas about college life are skewed before arriving at the university, which adds to the destructive problem.

Burkart recalled his own experience arriving at campus and said, "when I came to campus, I had a mentality that the only way of fitting in those first few weeks were to go to the big parties and such…. However, as students enter college with that mentality, they fall to the pressure of fitting in with their peers and make irresponsible decisions."

Along with providing education about safe drinking, the UW-L campus is pushing to continue and improve alternatives to drinking for students to get involved in.


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