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When students drink

In their newest Forbes blog post, Cornell President David Skorton and American studies professor Glenn Altschuler look at binge drinking on campus. “… about 25 percent of college students report negative academic consequences of their drinking, including missing class, falling behind, doing poorly on exams or papers and receiving lower grades overall. The long-term effects include a higher risk of lifelong alcohol dependency than more temperate peers,” they write.

At Cornell, they write, “Knowing that students tend to overestimate their classmates’ alcohol intake, thus inflating the amount of alcohol they perceive as normal, we spread the word that the majority of Cornell students drink moderately or not at all. We restrict the availability of alcohol on university property. … We emphasize safety in messages that include explicit warnings against ‘chugging’ shots of hard liquor and advice on how to pace alcohol consumption during a social event. And we encourage students to seek help immediately when faced with an alcohol-related medical emergency.”

Cornell is participating in the National College Health Improvement Project’s Learning Collaborative on High Risk Drinking, which will gather data to develop tools to reduce high-risk drinking.

‘We ask that you consider a conversation with your son or daughter during the inter-session break. You might begin by sharing this blog. Or by asking open-ended questions. “What is there to do on campus at night?” “What do your friends do for fun?” The conversation might lead to some eye-opening revelations,” write Skorton and Altschuler.


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