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A Matter of Degree Advocacy Initiative: The National Effort to Reduce High Risk Drinking Among College Students

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On one in three college campuses in the United States, more than half the students engage in "binge drinking," or the consumption of four to five (or more) drinks in a row. More than 33 percent of these students live a "party lifestyle," characterized by frequent, deliberate intoxication. A Matter of Degree: The National Effort to Reduce High-Risk Drinking Among College Students (AMOD), began in 1996 as a seven-year, $8.6-million program to foster collaboration among ten universities and their surrounding communities.

AMOD seeks to address high-risk drinking and its consequences for college students and the surrounding community; as well as to develop strategies for improving the quality of life regarding this issue for all community residents. The ten coalitions look at how each environment (on-campus and off) affects student drinking habits, and they work to identify and implement science-based approaches to improve those environments and promote healthier, safer conditions for all. This publication presents the case histories of four campus-community coalitions in Delaware, Iowa, Nebraska and Vermont from 2000-2002. Through media advocacy, strategic planning and community organizing, these coalitions helped change policies and the community environments that affect student high-risk drinking. While the ability to generalize these case studies is limited, they provide meaningful lessons that could help other communities interested in tackling the problem.