Resources and tips for parents to help your student navigate college drinking culture
The misuse of alcohol is a cause or contributing factor in many academic, emotional, social, physical and legal problems for undergraduate students nationwide, and Loyola is no exception. While most students at Loyola use alcohol in moderation or not at all, a significant minority of students report drinking in ways that put them and others at greater risk for alcohol-related harms.
Loyola University Chicago is concerned about the negative consequences of high-risk drinking for the drinker, friends, roommates, classmates and community neighbors alike. Loyola Chicago, like many universities, uses a harm reduction approach when it comes to alcohol education. Harm reduction education gives students information on alcohol and its risks and provides them with tips on how to consume in a lower risk way IF they choose to drink. We also emphasize that waiting to drink is the best way to avoid consequences from drinking.
What can you do?
Research* suggests that students who talked with their parents about alcohol avoidance BEFORE their first year of college were more likely to avoid alcohol, limit its use, and spend time with heavy-drinking peers.
Raise the topic naturally: Discussions about majors or careers can lead to a discussion about the ways in which alcohol can disrupt academic success. As you tour the campus community, point out where the liquor outlets are. Discuss the fact that underage drinking is illegal and has serious consequences. In an anonymous survey, students at Loyola report negative consequences as a result of their own drinking, ranging from physical injuries, engaging in unprotected sexual activity, and doing something they later regretted.
Be honest: Acknowledge the risks you took, along with any consequences you may have experienced. Answer the questions in a way that does not glorify underage drinking
Make Expectations clear: You or your student are paying a lot of money to attend school here. Loyola does not tolerate underage drinking, fake IDs are felonies, and there are consequences. If your student is intoxicated and transported to the hospital, there are large fees associated. Communicate with your student about what you expect from them. They will be told today that they are expected to complete an online course called AlcoholEdu that educates them about making healthy choices. Discuss this online class with them. Encourage your student to intervene should they be in a situation where someone may have overconsumed. We will be distributed alcohol poisoning educational magnets in the fall. Students who intervene on behalf of someone in danger will not get into trouble for helping.
Source: Turrisi, R., Mallett, K. A., Cleveland, M., Varvil-Weld, L., Abar, C. C., Scaglione, N., & Hultgren, B. (2013). An evaluation of timing and dosage of a parent based intervention to minimize college students’ alcohol consumption. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 74(1), 30–40.
Resources for Parents:
A Parent Handbook for Talking to Students about Alcohol (Example from Bucknell University)
If you have any questions about alcohol resources on campus, please contact The Wellness Center at 773-508-2530.