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USC Joins Alcohol Prevention Coalition

USC Joins Alcohol Prevention Coalition

Every undergraduate at USC is familiar with AlcoholEdu, the interactive online program incoming students must complete before their first week of classes.

USC adopted the curriculum, designed by Outside the Classroom, seven years ago to educate Trojans about the risks associated with drinking.

Beginning July 1, the university will be expanding that education and awareness program. USC officially has joined the Alcohol Prevention Coalition, a partnership sponsored by Outside the Classroom.

New courses will be available, including SexualAssaultEdu for students and MentalHealthEdu for administrators, faculty and staff. There are also plans to implement GreekLife, which resembles AlcoholEdu, but targets drinking issues specific to the greek community. In addition, the coalition will provide customized research concerning USC’s student population and its behaviors.

“Outside the Classroom is sitting on one of the largest databases of college students in the world,” said Paula Swinford, director of Health Promotion and Prevention Services. “We need to move this conversation forward, and we need more information about USC — the coalition is able to provide that.”

In addition to new data, the coalition will provide opportunities for staff members to attend biannual research summits, as well as professional development events where experts will visit USC to examine and discuss the university’s drinking culture. The hope is that these renewed efforts will augment the value of AlcoholEdu.

“In theory, AlcoholEdu is a great way to educate incoming students on the effects of alcohol, but in practice I know a lot of people who just clicked through to the end and didn’t get anything out of it,” said Morgan Williams, a senior majoring in English and gender studies. “Hopefully taking part in the coalition will help increase its effectiveness.”

AlcoholEdu informs new students about aspects of drinking, including what constitutes one drink, blood alcohol content and how fast the body can metabolize alcohol. It is meant to foster a sense of responsibility and community among incoming freshmen, as well as to ensure that all students receive the same information about university expectations. For Swinford, the new coalition marks the beginning of what she hopes will be renewed interest in this educational program.

“This is one step further,” she said. “We haven’t yet taken an approach that is institutionalized, and we need to think about building whole environments that enhance health. We’ve got to do a lot more to in order to get high-risk drinking rates to go down.”

USC Joins Alcohol Prevention Coalition

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