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A Matter of Degree Initiative to Reduce Binge Drinking at Colleges and Universities: Lessons Learned

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Abstract:

A Matter of Degree (AMOD): The National Effort to Reduce High-Risk Drinking Among College Students is a project that began in 1996 with funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). In AMOD, universities work with surrounding communities to gauge the effectiveness of an environmental approach to alcohol abuse prevention and reduce negative consequences of high-risk drinking.

The AMOD initiative was conducted across 10 university-community sites to reduce campus alcohol abuse and related negative outcomes. The current report reviews findings from evaluation, interviews and progress reports with participating universities and surrounding communities and other project stakeholders that participated in AMOD over a decade.

Key Findings:

* The environmental model used in AMOD increased awareness on campuses and in communities that collaboration could bring about change in alcohol abuse on campus. The sites that implemented more of the AMOD strategies saw significant reductions in drinking and related negative consequences of alcohol abuse.
* Ten integral components of successful campus-community collaborations are highlighted in the report. Examples include: investment of prominent campus leaders, such as the president, in the initiative; commitment of a full-time staff member to AMOD; and data-driven assessment and intervention efforts.
* Some recommendations from AMOD include: bringing higher-level leaders from the campus and community into the initiative; the recruitment and retention of project staff; and advocacy with media and applying communication techniques.

Key components of AMOD and related recommendations offer promising approaches to prevention and intervention efforts in the realm of high-risk drinking on campus.