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October 15, 2007
It's no secret that drinking has become one of the cultural norms of the college experience.
Some use and some abuse it.
However, on the average, college campuses have to deal with this issue at least more than once during the academic year.
For this reason, Alcohol Awareness Week has been taking place at U.S. universities during the third week of October for the more than 20 years. The University of Nevada, Reno is taking part this week through a series of scheduled events that aim to target all kinds of students with all kinds of differing opinions and consumption patterns.
"Universities are a place where alcohol is consumed," said Scooby Meredith, coordinator of alcohol and other drug prevention programs at University of Nevada. "We want to make sure that students who do choose to drink have the right information."
This week's events will feature a variety of new and old events that have been done in the past. Everything from a MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) crashed car exhibit to watching residence hall resident assistants get "drunk" will be featured among other informational events.
One of the new featured events being held is a focus group concerning alcohol related issues on Tuesday evening.
Meredith said that this focus group is being conducted in an effort to help the state collect data on what issue exactly needs to be targeted in preventing collegiate alcohol abuse.
The focus groups will also enable the University to receive more funding for alcohol abuse prevention programs in the future.
When asked about the university's current levels of alcohol abuse, Meredith said that statistics have proven that students have very different perceptions about how much drinking goes on at Nevada compared to how much actually occurs.
"The average student doesn't drink as much as everyone thinks," Meredith said.
In 2006, 51 percent of Nevada students were found to be users of alcohol about twice a month or less. The other 49 percent used alcohol once a week or more.
When these statistics were generated, students who were surveyed actually thought that only 5 percent of students used alcohol twice a month or less--a much more alarming assumption compared to what is actually true.