CSU Sacramento -- October 24, 2003

CSUS Program Targets Student Drinking Myths

California State University, Sacramento students are heading back to high school to talk about the realities of college drinking. The message will be a sober one.

In an innovative program partnering CSUS with the San Juan Unified School District, students from the University will take aim at the myth of the college drinker and give health and driver's education students at Rio Americano High School a real look at what college life is about.

Starting with their first visit on Friday, Oct. 10, six student peer educators from CSUS will go into Rio Americano High School classrooms three times this semester to present a realistic picture of college life and student drinking habits.

"The average CSUS student has 2.6 drinks a week," Cyndra Krogen, CSUS health educator, said. That fact runs counter to the image of hard-drinking college students offered up in movies, television shows and beer ads. "People think student drinking is way higher than that, but it's not."

That false image, however, can lead to binge drinking among incoming freshmen who want to fit in to the college crowd, Krogen said.

"I call it 'peer influence.'" she said. "Student drinking can be influenced by the people they socialize with."

Despite the image conjured up by the movies like Animal House and Higher Learning-or beer ads filled with picture-perfect 20-somethings-most of college students do not spend their days partying.

"The typical Sac State student works part time and carries 15 units-there's not a lot of time for them to go out and get drunk," Jill Parish, program organizer, said. "And, if they hear these messages from a college student, it will have more effect."

Krogen agreed.

"It's all about making it real," she said. "Most college students make healthy choices when it comes to consuming alcohol. What we're trying to do is counter the unhealthy perceptions with the real facts."

Funding for this program is provided by a grant from the Business, Transportation, and Housing Agency, Office of Traffic Safety. Plans call for the program to expand to other schools next year.

For more information about the program, contact Parish at (916) 278-6595. Media assistance is available from CSUS public affairs at (916) 278-6156.

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