A Typology for Campus-Based Alcohol Prevention: Moving toward Environmental Management Strategies*
WILLIAM DeJONG, Ph.D., and LINDA M. LANGFORD,
Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Boston University School of
Public Health, 715 Albany Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02118
ABSTRACT. Objective: This article outlines a typology of programs
and policies for preventing and treating campus-based alcohol-related problems,
reviews recent case studies showing the promise of campusbased environmental
management strategies and reports findings from a national survey of U.S. colleges
and universities about available resources for pursuing environmentally focused
prevention. Method: The typology is grounded in a social ecological framework,
which recognizes that health-related behaviors are affected through multiple
levels of influence: intrapersonal (individual) factors, interpersonal (group)
processes, institutional factors, community factors and public policy. The survey
on prevention resources and activities was mailed to senior administrators responsible
for their school's institutional response to substance use problems. The study
sample was an equal probability sample of 365 2- and 4-year U.S. campuses. The
response rate was 76.9%. Results: Recent case studies suggest the value
of environmentally focused alcohol prevention approaches on campus, but more
rigorous research is needed to establish their effectiveness. The administrators'
survey showed that most U.S. colleges have not yet installed the basic infrastructure
required for developing, implementing and evaluating environmental management
strategies. Conclusions: The typology of campus-based prevention options
can be used to categorize current efforts and to inform strategic planning of
multilevel interventions. Additional colleges and universities should establish
a permanent campus task force that reports directly to the president, participate
actively in a campus-community coalition that seeks to change the availability
of alcohol in the local community and join a state-level association that speaks
out on state and federal policy issues. (J. Stud. Alcohol, Supplement
No. 14: 140-147, 2002)
HIGH-RISK DRINKING has been a long-standing problem on U.S. college campuses.
By 1989, a survey of college and university presidents found that 67% rated
alcohol misuse to be a "moderate" or "major" problem on
their campus (Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching, 1990). Recent
national surveys of college student alcohol use have confirmed that a sizable
minority of students drinks large quantities of alcohol. For example, a 1999
survey conducted by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health found
that approximately two in five students at 4-year institutions engaged in heavy
episodic drinking during the 2 weeks prior to the survey, similar to what had
been found in both 1993 and 1997 (Wechsler et al., 2000). For men, heavy episodic
drinking was defined as having five or more drinks in a row, and for women as
having four or more drinks. About half of the heavy drinkers, or about one in
five students overall, drank at this level three or more times during the 2-week
period and account for 68% of all alcohol consumption by U.S. college students
(Wechsler et al., 1999).
The 1999 Harvard survey showed that heavy episodic
drinkers had far greater alcohol-related problems compared
with students who consumed lower amounts of alcohol. By
their own report, frequent heavy episodic drinkers were several
times more likely to do something they regret, miss a
class, fall behind in their schoolwork, forget where they
were or what they did, engage in unplanned sexual activity,
not use protection when having sex, argue with friends,
get hurt or injured, damage property and get into trouble
with campus or local police (Wechsler et al., 2000). There
is also a positive relationship between heavy episodic drinking
and driving after drinking (DeJong and Winsten, 1999).
There is also evidence that most students experience widespread problems as
a result of other students' misuse of alcohol (secondary heavy use effects),
including interrupted study and sleep; having to take care of a drunken student;
being insulted or humiliated; having a serious argument or quarrel; having property
damaged; unwanted sexual advances; being pushed, hit or assaulted; and being
a victim of sexual assault or date rape. Secondary heavy use effects are far
more common on campuses with large numbers of high-risk drinkers (Wechsler et
Additional evidence makes clear that high-risk drinking has a profound effect
on college students, contributing to both academic failure and an unsafe campus.
Students who drink at high levels have poorer grades (Presley et al., 1996);
anecdotal evidence suggests that many students who drop out of colleges and
universities have alcohol- and other drug-related problems (Eigen, 1991).
Estimates are that between 50% and 80% of violence on campus is alcohol related
(Roark, 1993). In a study of women who had been victims of some type of sexual
aggression while in college, the respondents reported that 68% of their male
assailants had been drinking at the time of the attack (Frintner and Rubinson,
Progress in reducing high-risk drinking has been slow.
One positive note is an increase in the percentage of college
students who abstain from drinking. This figure stood
at 19.2% in the 1999 Harvard survey, up from 15.4% in
1993 and 18.9% in 1997 (looking at students from the subset
of schools that participated in all three surveys). On the
other hand, the 1999 Harvard survey found that 22.7% of
students were classified as frequent heavy use drinkers compared
with 19.8% in 1993 and 20.9% in 1997 (Wechsler et
With relatively modest progress being made, college and
university presidents are under pressure to lower high-risk
drinking among their students. A key source of pressure
has been emerging case law regarding legal liability. Increasingly,
U.S. courts are ruling that colleges and universities
cannot ignore high-risk alcohol consumption, but
instead have an obligation to take reasonable measures to
create a safe environment by reducing foreseeable risks
(Bickel and Lake, 1999). In 1997, student deaths by alcohol
poisoning at Louisiana State University and the Massachusetts
Institute of Technology put the issue of student
drinking on the national agenda. As a result, Mothers
Against Drunk Driving (MADD), College Parents of
America, The Century Council and other groups have urged
students and their parents to demand stronger prevention
measures to ensure student safety.
Institutions of higher education have focused their prevention
efforts on educational and intervention strategies
oriented to influencing and meeting the needs of individual
students (Larimer, this supplement). Such programs are essential,
of course, but are only a part of what is necessary
to reduce alcohol-related problems on a large scale. Community-based prevention research suggests the need for a
broader effort, one that also seeks to reshape the physical,
social, economic and legal environment that affects alcohol
use (Holder et al., 1997; Perry et al., 1996). Informed by
this research, and inspired by the example of the anti-drunk
driving movement in the United States, the environmental
management approach promoted by the U.S. Department
of Education's Higher Education Center for Alcohol and
Other Drug Prevention urges campus administrators to adopt
a comprehensive approach to prevention that goes beyond
individually focused health education programs to include
strategies designed to change the campus and community
environment in which students make decisions about alcohol
use (DeJong et al., 1998).
This article first describes a social ecological framework
commonly used in public health work and its application to
the problem of college student drinking. This framework is
then expanded to create a full typology of campus-based
prevention and treatment options, which can be used by
prevention planners to provide a systematic review of current
efforts and to inform future strategic planning. Next,
the article reviews recent case studies showing the promise
of campus-based environmental management strategies. Finally,
the article reports findings from a national survey of
U.S. colleges and universities about available resources for
pursuing environmentally focused prevention. At this time,
the majority of U.S. campuses have not yet installed the
basic infrastructure required to develop, implement and
evaluate a comprehensive approach to prevention that features
environmentally focused strategies.
Environmental Management: A Social Ecological Framework
Prevention work in the public health arena has been
guided by a social ecological framework, which recognizes
that any health-related behavior, including college student
drinking, is affected through multiple levels of influence:
intrapersonal (individual) factors, interpersonal (group) processes,
institutional factors, community factors and public
policies (Stokols, 1996). On most campuses, prevention efforts
have concentrated on intrapersonal factors, interpersonal
processes and a subset of institutional factors. Less
attention has been paid to factors in the local community
that affect student alcohol use; calls by campus officials
for changes in state or federal policy remain rare.
Campus prevention activities focused on intrapersonal
or individual factors have been designed to increase student
awareness of alcohol-related problems, to change individual
attitudes and beliefs, to foster each student's
determination to avoid high-risk drinking and to intervene
to protect other students whose substance use has put them
in danger. Typical among these efforts are freshman orientation,
alcohol awareness weeks and other special events
and curriculum infusion, where faculty introduce alcohol-related
facts and issues into their regular academic courses
(Ryan and DeJong, 1998). The assumption behind these
approaches is that once students are presented with the facts
about alcohol's dangers they will make better-informed and
therefore healthier decisions about drinking. Rigorous evaluations
of these educational programs are rare, but work in
elementary and secondary school-based settings suggests
that, although these types of awareness programs are necessary,
information alone is usually insufficient to produce
behavior change (Ellickson, 1995).
Larimer's (this supplement) literature review suggests
there is little evidence that standard awareness and values
clarification programs can reduce alcohol consumption by
college students. There are new approaches being studied
that hold promise, however, including expectancy-challenge
procedures (involving alcohol/placebo administration), brief
motivational feedback interviews and alcohol skills training.
These approaches require further study to determine
the most effective combination of program components. The
ultimate challenge, however, may be in figuring out how to
bring these programs to scale so that the behavior of large
numbers of students will be affected, not just a small number
of research participants.
Activities focused on interpersonal or group processes
have been designed to use peer-to-peer communication to
change student social norms about alcohol and other drug
use. The largest such program, the BACCHUS/GAMMA
Peer Education Network, trains volunteer student leaders to
implement a variety of awareness and educational programs
and to serve as role models for other students to emulate.
Formally structured peer programs are the most common,
but some campuses have experimented with more informal
approaches. At Dartmouth College, for example, health educators
train a large cadre of students to engage other students
in dialogue when they overhear them make
pro-drinking comments. Because well-structured evaluations
of peer education are rare, such programs remain an unproven
strategy for reducing student alcohol consumption.
The value of these programs, which have limited reach compared
with other, less expensive educational strategies, might
also be questioned on cost-effectiveness grounds.
Social norms campaigns are another prevention strategy
designed to affect interpersonal processes. This approach is
grounded in the well-established observation that college
students greatly overestimate the number of their peers who
drink heavily (Perkins and Wechsler, 1996). Because this
misperception drives normative expectations about alcohol
use, which in turn influence actual use, a viable prevention
strategy is to correct the misperception (Perkins and
Berkowitz, 1986). A social norms campaign attempts to do
this by using campus-based mass media (e.g., newspaper
advertisements, posters, email messages) to provide more
accurate information about actual levels of alcohol use on
campus. Preliminary studies at Northern Illinois University
and other institutions suggest that this approach to changing
the social environment has great promise as a prevention
strategy (Perkins, this supplement), but more definitive
research is still needed to gauge its real impact in reducing
student alcohol consumption.
A broader focus on institutional factors, community factors
and public policy constitutes the doctrine of environmental
management articulated by the Higher Education
Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention. The need
for environmental change is evident when one considers
the types of mixed messages about high-risk alcohol consumption
that are abundant in college communities. In the
community, for example, many liquor stores, bars and Greek
houses fail to check for proof-of-age identification. Local
bars and restaurants offer happy hours and other low-price
promotions or serve intoxicated patrons. Where it is allowed,
on-campus advertising for beer and other alcoholic
beverages "normalizes" alcohol consumption as an inherent
part of student life, and an absence of alcohol-free social
and recreational options makes high-risk drinking the
default option for students seeking spontaneous entertainment.
Of critical importance, lax enforcement of campus
regulations, local ordinances or state and federal laws
teaches students to disregard the law. Until these mixed
messages in the campus and community are changed, college
officials face an uphill battle in reducing high-risk alcohol
consumption and the harm it can cause.
Following the social ecological framework, there are
three spheres of action in which environmental change strategies
can operate: the institution of higher education, the
surrounding community and state and federal laws and regulations.
Key to developing and implementing new policies
in all three spheres is a participatory process that includes
all major sectors of the campus and community, including
On campus, an alcohol and other drug task force should
conduct a broad-based examination of the college environment,
looking not only at alcohol and other drug-related
policies and programs, but also the academic program, the
academic calendar and the entire college infrastructure. The
objective is to identify ways in which the environment can
be changed to clarify the college's expectations for its students,
better integrate students into the intellectual life of
the college, change student norms away from alcohol and
other drug misuse or make it easier to identify students in
trouble with substance use.
Work in the surrounding community can be accomplished through a campus and
community coalition. Community mobilization, involving a coalition of civic,
religious and governmental officials, is widely recognized as a key to the successful
prevention of alcohol- and other drug-related problems (Hingson and Howland,
this supplement). Higher education officials, especially college and university
presidents, can take the lead in forming these coalitions and moving them toward
an environmental approach to prevention (Presidents Leadership Group, 1997).
A chief focus of a campus-community coalition should be to curtail youth access
to alcohol and to eliminate irresponsible alcohol sales and marketing practices
by local bars, restaurants and liquor outlets.
College officials should also work for policy change at both the state and
federal levels. New laws and regulations will affect the community as a whole
and can help perpetuate changes in social norms, thereby affecting student alcohol
use. There are several potentially helpful laws and regulations that can be
considered, including distinctive and tamper-proof licenses for drivers under
age 21, increased penalties for illegal service to minors, prohibition of happy
hours and other reduced-price alcohol promotions, restricted hours of sales,
reduced density of retail outlets and increased excise tax rates on alcohol
(Toomey and Wagenaar, 1999). A state-level association of colleges and universities
can provide the organizational mechanism for college presidents and other top
administrators to speak out on these and other issues, while also providing
a structure for promoting the simultaneous development of several campus and
community coalitions within a state.
A Typology of Campus and Community Interventions
The Higher Education Center's environmental management
framework encourages college presidents and other
top administrators to reconceptualize their prevention work
to include a comprehensive restructuring of the campus and
community environment (DeJong et al., 1998). Recently,
the Center has expanded this framework to create a full
typology of campus-based prevention and treatment options.
This typology can be used to categorize existing efforts,
identify missing program elements and guide new strategic
The social ecological framework defines one dimension
of the typology, with programs and policies classified into
one of five levels: individual, group, institution, community
and state and federal public policy. The second dimension
of the Center's typology concerns the key areas of
strategic intervention, each of which is linked to a particular
definition of the problem of alcohol use in colleges.
There are four alternatives to be considered: (1) changing
people's knowledge, attitudes and behavioral intentions regarding
alcohol consumption; (2) eliminating or modifying
environmental factors that contribute to the problem; (3)
protecting students from the short-term consequences of alcohol
consumption ("health protection" or "harm reduction"
strategies); and (4) intervening with and treating students
who are addicted to alcohol or otherwise show evidence of
These two dimensions can be represented as a matrix,
as in Table 1. This representation captures the idea that
many areas of strategic intervention can be pursued at one
or several levels: individual, group, institution, community
and state and federal public policy. For example, in the
realm of health protection, a local community could decide
to establish a "safe rides" program. This community-level
program would be strengthened by the addition of complementary
efforts at other levels of the social ecological model.
For example, at the group level, fraternity and sorority chapters
could vote to require members to sign a pledge not to
drink and drive and instead to use the safe rides program.
Operating at the individual level, there could be a campusbased
media campaign that encourages individual students
to utilize the new service.
Consider another example focused on increased observance and enforcement of
the minimum drinking age law. At the state level, the alcohol control commission
could increase the number of decoy (or "sting") operations at local
bars and restaurants. At the community level, local police could implement a
protocol for notifying college officials of all alcohol-related incidents involving
students. At the institution itself, the campus pub could require that all alcohol
servers complete a training course in responsible beverage service. At the group
level, the college might require that residential groups and special event planners
provide adequate controls to prevent alcohol service to underage students. Finally,
at the individual level, a media campaign could publicize these new policies,
the stepped-up enforcement efforts and the consequences of violating the law.
Implementing multiple strategies in support of a single strategic objective
will increase the likelihood of that objective being achieved.
The typology divides the environmental change category
into five subcategories of strategic interventions: (1) offer
and promote social, recreational, extracurricular and public
service options that do not include alcohol; (2) create a
social, academic and residential environment that supports
health-promoting norms; (3) limit alcohol availability both
on- and off-campus; (4) restrict marketing and promotion
of alcoholic beverages both on- and off-campus; and (5)
develop and enforce campus policies and local, state and
federal laws. Each of these subcategories involves a wide
range of possible strategic objectives, as shown in Table 2.
One use of the typology matrix is for campus-community coalitions to categorize
their current programs and policies. In practice, most coalitions find that
the bulk of their efforts are focused on addressing knowledge, attitudes and
behavioral intentions regarding alcohol consumption, which is most often attempted
through programs designed to reach students as individuals. What environmental
change strategies there are tend to be focused at the institutional level. Once
gaps are noted, the coalition can use the matrix to explore systematically how
to expand or modify their programs and policies. Training and technical assistance
services provided by the Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Other Drug
Prevention are designed to encourage a detailed exploration of the five subcategories
of environmentally focused strategic interventions.
The typology's matrix structure also leads to a consideration
of how a program or policy that operates at one level
of strategic intervention (as defined by the social ecological
framework) might be complemented by efforts operating
at other levels. For example, a social norms campaign,
which operates primarily at the group level, could be enhanced
by an alcohol screening program that gives individualized
feedback to students on their drinking compared
with other students on campus (Marlatt et al., 1998). As
another example, community leaders might foster the creation
of new businesses that can provide recreational options for students. Simultaneously,
college officials might
create a center to promote student involvement in service
learning projects, while also conducting an awareness campaign
to inform students of the career advantages of community
volunteer work. The idea is to design programs and
policies that work in sync to change the campus and community
environment, thereby offering a safer and richer
learning experience for students.
Emerging Evidence on Environmental Management Strategies
Very few college-focused alcohol prevention programs
have undertaken an evaluation that meets even minimal
scientific standards. As a result, to guide future program
and policy development, the Higher Education Center for
Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention relies on the broader
prevention literature, which clearly points to the potential
for coalition-driven environmental change strategies
(Hingson and Howland, this supplement). The Center's
training program for campus and community coalitions,
technical assistance services and publications have urged
college officials to adopt this broader approach, based on
the reasoned expectation that what has been shown to work
to reduce alcohol-related problems in the population at large
will also work to reduce alcohol-related problems among
Recent case study reports underscore the potential value
of an environmental approach to reduce alcohol-related
problems among college students. In Albany, New York,
for example, a campus-community coalition worked to reduce
problems related to off-campus student drinking. Committee
initiatives included improving enforcement of local
laws and ordinances, sending safety awareness mailings to
off-campus students and developing a comprehensive advertising
and beverage service agreement with local tavern
owners. These initiatives were associated with a decline in
the number of alcohol-related problems in the community,
as indicated by decreases in the number of off-campus noise
ordinance reports filed by police and in the number of calls
to a university-maintained hotline for reporting off-campus
problems (Gebhardt et al., 2000).
In 1995, the University of Arizona installed and publicized
new policies to provide better alcohol control during
its annual homecoming event. Systematic observation at
pregame tents showed that, compared with 1994, these policies
led to a lower percentage of tents selling alcohol, elimination
of beer kegs, greater availability of food and
nonalcoholic beverages, the presence of hired bartenders to
serve alcohol and systems for ID checks. These changes
were still in evidence through 1998. In 1995, campus police
also saw a downward shift in the number of neighborhood
calls for complaints related to homecoming activities,
which was maintained through 1998. Statistics on law enforcement
actions were inconsistent. There was a sharp drop
in 1995, but 1996 and 1998 saw enforcement levels similar
to what was seen before the new policies (Johannessen et
Researchers at the University of Rhode Island conducted
a study to assess the impact of the university's tougher
alcohol policies, which were installed in 1991, including
prohibitions against underage drinking or alcohol possession,
public alcohol consumption and use of kegs or other
common alcohol containers. The results suggested that aggressive
enforcement of the new policies led to a 60% decrease
in more serious alcohol violations (Cohen and
Additional scientifically based research is needed to assess
the effectiveness of college-based prevention programs
that feature environmentally focused policies and programs.
Why have there been so few good program and policy
evaluations? In general, the problem is not that program
directors are unaware of the need for evaluation, or that
they are worried about their program failing to measure up.
Rather, it is that, until recently, most foundations and government
agencies invested insufficient resources in evaluation
research. Good research in this area is expensive. On a
promising note, new research initiatives funded by the U.S.
Department of Education, the National Institute on Alcohol
Abuse and Alcoholism and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
should soon make it possible for a scientifically based
research literature to emerge.
With the promise of environmental management strategies
for reducing alcohol-related problems among college
students, the question arises as to how many colleges and
universities have the resources needed to pursue this approach.
Reported next are the results of a national study
conducted by the Higher Education Center for Alcohol and
Other Drug Prevention to answer that question.
National Survey of Senior Campus Administrators
In 1998, the Higher Education Center conducted its first
Survey of American College Campuses to learn more about
the types of alcohol and other drug prevention efforts now
in place in U.S. institutions of higher education. Of particular
interest was the extent to which colleges and universities
have installed the infrastructure they need to
develop, implement and evaluate a comprehensive program
that includes prevention strategies with an environmental
The study sample was an equal probability sample of 365 two- and four-year
colleges and universities, both public and private, drawn from an updated database
of U.S. institutions of higher education. All of the selected institutions had
undergraduate students and granted an associates degree or higher. A survey
was mailed to the senior administrator responsible for coordinating each school's
institutional response to alcohol- and other drug-related problems.
One survey was returned without a forwarding address
for the institution, leaving a total sample size of 364. With
280 completed surveys, the response rate was 76.9%. Of
those providing this information, 133 were from a 4-year
institution (48.0%) and 144 were from a 2-year school
Current funding and staff levels
Fully 81.1% of the respondents reported that "hard
money" (nongrant) funding for their institution's alcohol
and other drug prevention programs had remained the same
during the past 3 years; 9.4% reported that funding had
increased, and 9.4% reported that funding had decreased.
Results for 4- and 2-year institutions were somewhat different.
Roughly equal percentages of respondents said that
funding had decreased (4-year schools, 9.2%; 2-year
schools, 9.7%); more 4-year schools (16.8%) than 2-year
schools (1.8%) had funding increases during the past 3
On average, respondents to the Center's survey stated
that 1.2 full-time equivalent (FTE) staff were employed at
their institution to develop and implement alcohol and other
drug prevention programs and policies. Four-year institutions
reported having more staff devoted to this work than
did 2-year schools: less than one FTE (4-year schools,
38.5%; 2-year schools, 57.8%), one to less than two FTEs
(4-year schools, 40.4%; 2-year schools, 24.8%) and two or
more FTEs (4-year schools, 21.1%; 2-year schools, 17.4%).
Respondents to the survey were also asked questions
about their school's infrastructure for developing prevention
programs and policies. Only 39.8% of the respondents
reported that their institution had a campus-wide task force
or committee in place to oversee prevention efforts. Among
those with a task force, 70.1% reported participation by the
president or the president's designee. Respondents from 4-year schools were far more likely than those from 2-year
schools have a campus-wide task force (51.5% vs 29.6%,
Only 28.5% of the respondents said that their institution was part of a local
coalition focused on alcohol and other drug prevention. Again, there was a large
difference between 4- and 2-year institutions. Fully 37.9% of respondents from
4-year schools said that they participated in such a coalition compared with
18.9% of those from 2-year schools. In addition, 32.6% of the respondents reported
that their institution was part of a state-level association focused on prevention.
This was the case for 41.3% of 4-year institutions but only 23.3% of 2-year
Data collection and research
Only 19.8% of the respondents reported that their institution conducts a formal
assessment of the implementation and impact of its alcohol and other drug policies
and programs. This was the case for 25.2% of 4-year schools and 13.9% of 2-year
Only 37.3% of the respondents said that their institution
carries out a formal survey of student alcohol and other
drug use, knowledge and attitudes. Again, there were large
differences between 4- and 2-year institutions. Such a survey
was conducted at 58.3% of 4-year institutions and only
17.7% of 2-year schools.
Two-thirds of the respondents (66.3%) indicated that their
institution's prevention effort includes a review of incident
reports from campus security. This was the case for 72.1%
of 4-year schools and 62.2% of 2-year schools. Only 35.4%
of institutions review summary statistics from student health
services; this was done at 48.4% of 4-year schools but only
23.1% of 2-year schools.
To prevent alcohol- and other drug-related problems on campus, college
and university administrators are being asked to adopt a more comprehensive
prevention approach that features environmentally focused strategies. Because
this represents a profound shift in how most college and university administrators
think about alcohol and other drug prevention, this change in approach will
come slowly, a fact reinforced by the results of the 1998 Survey of American
Cultivating and sustaining a campus and community environment
in which students are helped to make healthier
decisions about substance use requires a long-term financial
investment. The Higher Education Center's new typology
of campus and community prevention efforts makes
clear there is much more involved here than tougher campus
policies and stricter enforcement. However, despite recent
publicity about college student drinking, approximately
9 in 10 U.S. colleges and universities did not increase their
nongrant budget allocation for alcohol and other drug prevention
during the 3 years previous to the 1998 Survey of
American College Campuses.
In addition, the vast majority of colleges and universities
have not yet put in place the basic infrastructure they
need to develop, implement or evaluate this comprehensive
approach. Progress will be greatly facilitated by constituting
a permanent campus task force that reports directly to
the president, participating actively in a campus-community
coalition that seeks to change the availability of alcohol
in the local community and joining a state-level
association that speaks out on state and federal policy
Another important role of state-level associations is to
facilitate the simultaneous development of multiple campus
and community coalitions within a state (Deucher et
al., in press). The advantages of this approach to infrastructure
development are several. First, having several institutions
join together in common effort makes clear that
high-risk drinking is not a problem of any one campus, but
one that all colleges and universities share in common. Second,
a state-level effort will draw media attention, which
can be used to reinforce the fact that high-risk drinking is
not the social norm on campus and to build the case for
environmentally focused solutions. Third, a statewide initiative
can attract additional funds for prevention. In various
states, funds for a state initiative have been provided
by departments of state government, the state alcohol beverage
control commission and private foundations.
As noted previously, as colleges and universities continue
to experiment with a broader range of environmental
strategies, additional research is needed to assess their effectiveness
and to build a true science of campus-based
prevention. Clearly, an environmental approach to drunk
driving prevention has led to great reductions in alcohol-related
traffic fatalities in the United States (DeJong and
Hingson, 1998). Indeed, it was the success of the anti-drunk
driving movement that informed the Higher Education
Center's doctrine of environmental management. Ultimately,
however, if college and university officials are to continue
making the investment that an environmental approach requires,
evidence is needed about which strategies work best
under particular circumstances and are the most cost
The authors gratefully acknowledge comments provided on two earlier
drafts of this article by David Anderson, Ph.D., George Mason University,
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*Work on this article was supported by U.S. Department
of Education contract ED-99-CO-0094 to Education Development Center, Inc., in
Newton, MA, for operation of the Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Other
Drug Prevention, for which the first author serves as director. The views expressed
here are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official position
of the Department of Education.
William DeJong may be reached at the above address
or via email at: email@example.com. Linda M. Langford is with Education Development
Center, Newton, MA.
Last reviewed: 9/23/2005