By Catherine Badillo
According to a national survey, almost 55 percent of college students ages 18-22 drank alcohol in the past month, and more than 1 out of 3 students engaged in binge drinking during that same timeframe (1). Whether it’s a friend’s party, a tailgate, or girls’ night in, consuming alcohol is something almost every college student is tempted or pressured with. The social aspect of college is heavily tied to alcohol consumption which makes it difficult for some students to say no in order to fit in or look cool. National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week (NCAAW) aims to improve awareness of issues posed by excessive drinking among college students.
For years, NCAAW has provided a space for discussion and action around these alarming statistics of college students and alcohol consumption. From community and technical colleges to major research universities across the nation, students and staff are implementing programs to educate, and encourage personal safety around alcohol, combating a drinking culture that surrounds many facets of college life.
The consequences of drinking alcohol among college students can be deadly. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, 1,825 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die from alcohol-related unintentional injuries, including motor-vehicle crashes. Sexual assault and date rape are also issues posed by excessive drinking among college students. 97,000 students between the ages of 18-24 report experiencing alcohol related sexual assault or date rape. Excessive alcohol consumption also affects a student’s performance in their classes. About 1 in 4 college students report academic consequences from drinking, including missing class, missing due dates, and receiving low grades on exams and papers. (2)
Alcohol consumption not only can cost a student their college career, but it can also take their life in a matter of seconds. Part of the focus of NCAAW includes raising awareness, promoting responsibility, and eliminating alcohol abuse. Encourage your peers to safely consume alcohol by knowing what you’re drinking, knowing your limit, eating before you drink and while you’re drinking, and by pacing yourself to a drink an hour. Remember, if you’re drinking, you’re not driving. Call a friend or rideshare to prevent any alcohol related crashes. Your life is worth saving. Don’t let one mistake take it from you. Drink responsibly and encourage your friends to do the same.
Catherine Badillo is a student at the University of Houston majoring in American Sign Language Interpreting. She plans to become an educational interpreter to provide deaf students with access to communication in schools.