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K-State Today

October 19, 2011



Prevention education: Online program educates students on alcohol-related issues

By Communications and Marketing

Incoming Kansas State University students are learning about issues associated with alcohol and sexual assault thanks to an online alcohol education program.

Some 4,279 K-State students completed AlcoholEdu for College during the program's first year at the university in 2010-2011, translating to 10,698 hours of prevention education. Results from the 2010-2011 academic year show that students are increasing their knowledge about alcohol-related issues after completing the program. Starting this academic year, students also completed an online program within AlcoholEdu called Haven, which teaches students about sexual assault and relationships.

"Kansas State University is committed to the health and welfare of our students," said Pat Bosco, vice president for student life and dean of students. "It's critical that we continue to educate our students on issues concerning their health and safety so that they can be successful during their college years and beyond."

All newly enrolled, degree-seeking students on the Manhattan and Salina campuses who are under the age of 22 on the first day of classes are required to complete the Web-based alcohol education program, which takes about two hours to complete and provides information about alcohol and its impact on behavior and the body.

Students take a quiz before and after the educational program. Mean exam scores increased from 52 percent on the pre-course exam to 84 percent on the post-course exam. Eighty percent of students said the program helped them establish a plan for responsible decisions related to alcohol.

"While the university offers educational, preventative and intervention services, this program educates a large portion of our incoming students and helps them make wiser choices once they arrive on campus," said Bill Arck, director of K-State's alcohol and other drug education service. "Students learn accurate information on issues like blood-alcohol content in a way that is relevant and useful to them."

A study conducted by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism found that during the fall semester that immediately followed AlcoholEdu implementation, the program significantly reduced the frequency of binge drinking, along with the frequency of alcohol use and alcohol-related problems within 30 days before taking a survey for the study.

"Students learns how to adapt to college life during their first semester, and we're taking the opportunity to teach our students during this critical time," Arck said. "Educating students about the consequences of high-risk drinking helps them make better decisions."

The online program is part of the university's comprehensive strategy of addressing alcohol-related issues.

"Along with getting a college education comes a plethora of stressful situations, and learning how to deal with them is the key to success," said Julie Gibbs, director of health promotions at K-State's Lafene Health Center. "Many students haven't been educated on exactly what to do on some situations -- if a friend has alcohol poisoning or if a student engages in some risky behaviors -- so it is important to teach them and make them aware."

The number of K-State students who do not drink alcohol has been steadily increasing. Twenty-two percent of students do not drink alcohol, according to a 2010 survey Arck conducted with more than 1,000 students. In the mid-1980s, about 11 percent of students said that they did not drink alcohol.