Improve Alcohol Education Among the W&M Community

Meredith Deming, Class of 2010Two research projects by Meredith Deming '10 will result in better education for W&M freshmen on the effects of alcohol.  For her first project, Meredith used data from the National College Health Assessment survey conducted on campus in the spring of 2008. "I combined the freshmen-specific data from the NCHA survey with my own research. Over the summer I developed alcohol-education programs based on those results," said Meredith. Her summer research was funded in part by a grant from the Sharpe Programs.

"The programs I developed include three 15-minute presentations on social norming and alcohol, alcohol education and athletes, and alcohol education and 'Greeks.' The presentations are designed to present incoming freshmen with relevant information about alcohol use on the William & Mary campus," said Meredith.Meredith's second project is putting her research into practice. During the fall 2008 semester she is inviting residence hall assistants, athletic coaches, and Greek organizations to host the presentations she designed. She’s working with W&M's Health Outreach Peer Educators (HOPE) for volunteers to help give presentations as they're requested.

"I'm also planning one late-night event toward the end of the fall semester - fun, open to all students, and providing relevant health information about substance abuse. This event will combine the strategies developed from my research over the summer with what I learn presenting programs to freshmen this fall."  HOPE will also be helping with the late-night event.

Summing up her experience so far, Meredith observed: "Through my research, I learned that substance abuse education is more than explaining the consequences of drinking too much alcohol. Substance abuse education is demonstrating to students that there are many choices when it comes to drinking alcohol, and that there are safe strategies to protect these students no matter what their choice may be."