Students at EWU engage in many fun, healthy and low-risk activities both on and off campus. All students are encouraged to participate in fun, alcohol-free activities on and around campus. About 35% of EWU students do not drink alcohol. However, underage drinking and high-risk drinking can be a major concerns affecting college students' health. Eastern Washington University has a very detailed alcohol policy you can find by clicking here.
Below are some tips on how to have a conversation with your student around alcohol use. A Parent Handbook for Talking with College Students About Alcohol is an evidence-based guide for those parents looking for more in-depth information on alcohol and how to talk to your student.
Have the Conversation
Studies show that students either consume less alcohol, or choose not to drink at all when:
- They have correct information about high-risk drinking and potential consequences.
- They have engaged conversations about responsible behavior.
- They are able to express what it means to be a responsible member of the community.
It is important to continue the dialogue even after your student has started college. Participation by parents in campus community to educate students around alcohol use is key. You are the primary influence in your student’s life. Studies have shown that parents have a significant influence on young people’s decisions about alcohol consumption, especially when parents create supportive and nurturing environments in which their children can make their own decisions. In fact, around 80% of children feel that parents should have a say in whether they drink alcohol. Active parental discussion and involvement enhances the transition, and can help break the misperceptions that “everybody drinks in college”. In fact 33% of EWU students report not drinking, and of those who do drink, nearly 67% consume four or less drinks.
Most often, college students are uneducated or simply misinformed about alcohol facts. Being aware of what your student is consuming, how much, and the potential consequences or health effects of doing so can be life saving. Asking your students if they know the signs of alcohol poisoning and if they’d know what to do if they believed someone needed help are extremely important.
It is important to understand that one drink doesn’t always equal one standard serving size of alcohol.
There are various consequences of drinking underage or binge drinking, including but not limited to: criminal penalties, missed class, injury, depression, alcohol poisoning, and even death.
Encourage Low-Risk Behaviors
Remind your student:
- That it is illegal to consume alcohol if you are under age 21.
- To consider the consequences both academically and legally from choosing to drink alcohol.
Have open dialogue and encourage your student:
- Choose fun activities that do not include alcohol
- Make a realistic and safe plan before going out for the night
- Have a plan how to get home safely
- Always know how much alcohol is in their drink
- Drink no more than one drink per hour
- Do not mix alcohol with medications or other drugs
- If your roommate was drinking, what would you do?
- What are the reasons your peers are drinking alcohol?
- What would you do if your ride for the night began drinking?
- If you found someone passed out in the residence hall, how would you help him or her?
- What is there to do with your friends that doesn’t involve alcohol?
- What precautions do you and your friends take when going out to be safe?
- How would you respond to someone pressuring you into drinking?
Eastern Washington University Policy
(University sanctions per Student Code of Conduct)
Washington State Law
(Criminal penalties and fines per WA State Law)
No person under 21 can possess alcohol on campus Illegal for anyone under 21 to possess, consume or sell alcohol Persons over 21 may possess and consume alcohol in the privacy of their individual residence hall rooms (everyone present must be at least 21 years of age) If under 21 years of age, minor in possession can be cited even if not an actual possession of alcohol, but exhibiting effects of having consumed alcohol Alcohol containers may not be used as a decoration in residence halls If under 21 years of age, zero tolerance for driving under the influence Kegs, common source containers and nonalcoholic brews are prohibited in residence halls It is illegal to possess a fake ID or loan your ID to another person to purchase alcohol Selling or providing alcohol to minors is prohibited Selling or providing alcohol to minors is prohibited