Mary and Sofie: Issue Brief Idea: Excessive Drinking on College Campuses

Excessive drinking on college campuses is a prevalent issue that has affected college students, especially in the last few years. In campuses across the United States, the implications of excessive alcohol consumption has affected both the students and the university. While reports, images, and videos of this negative behavior has been seen in news outlets and social media, the problem still persists as a national crisis. The evident effects of excessive alcohol consumption can be seen in the lives of students, but it also influences factors around them. The negative behavior associated with alcohol consumption can be linked to decreased school performance, mental health issues, and physical health well-being on the personal level of students. Furthermore, excessive alcohol consumption plays a role on a broader scale, influencing factors such as sexual assault incidences, economic consequences, and reputation of universities. Due to the widespread, but critical, effects of alcohol consumption across campuses, these issues provoke a need to find a solution to eliminate the downsides of these factors.

While alcohol consumption is a choice that has been mandated by law to occur after a person has turned 21 years old, college campuses give students “easy” access to underage drinking. While regulation has been implemented at the federal level to discourage negative behavior, it still exists. It often seems that universities have given up on their efforts to prevent excessive drinking, but rather aim their actions at the promotion of safe practices and smart choices. Even though this issue is driven by the role students play in engaging in overconsumption of alcohol, the policies and programs that are currently implemented are not doing enough to curb this negative behavior as rates of mental health illnesses and sexual assault on campuses have been on the rise in recent years, two instances that show a relation to high levels of alcohol consumption.

The currently policies and methods of action that exist on campuses to prevent excessive drinking must be changed or enforced through a new study. This issue brief will aim to find a new way in which to approach this revision and what that might look like at other universities like Penn State. In finding ways to implement methods that could actually reduce the excessive alcohol consumption on Penn State’s campuses, other universities could aim to implement these initiatives in order to promote a greater change in universities across the United States that actually prevents the consequences of this behavior, making both students and the surrounding communities safer, happier, and healthier.


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