"Perils of the College Drinking Culture” Forums in 2013
Fairfax County college-bound students and their parents were able to take advantage of attending together one of four regional "Perils of the College Drinking Culture" forums in 2013. The highly acclaimed program of the Unified Prevention Coalition of Fairfax County (UPC) kicked off Jan. 17 at McLean High School, and the final forum was held July 31 at Northern Virginia Community College's Ernst Community Cultural Center in Annandale. The forums aim to prepare families for what students will face at college related to underage and binge drinking.
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The forum, done in collaboration with the Fairfax County Police Department, includes viewing of an award-winning powerful (and graphic) documentary, HAZE, followed by a panel discussion with local experts and extensive Q & A.
The 2013 schedule included:
- Thursday, Jan. 17 at McLean High School auditorium in McLean View article from this event.
- Thursday, May 16 at Westfield High School auditorium in Chantilly
- Wednesday, May 22 at Northern Virginia Community College's Ernst Community Cultural Center, Annandale
- Wednesday, July 31 at Northern Virginia Community College's Ernst Community Cultural Center, 8333 Little River Turnpike, Annandale. View article from this event.
Among those who took part in the program and/or served on the distinguished panel in 2013: Deputy County Executive David Rohrer; Casey Lingan, Chief Deputy, Commonwealth's Attorney for Fairfax County; William Hauda, M.D., Inova Fairfax Hospital; Fairfax County Police Captain Bruce Ferguson, Commander, Community Resources Division; FCPD Sgt. Daniel Pang, School Resource Officer supervisor; Jeff Levy, father of a student who died following drinking at a college party; Mary Ann Sprouse, director of the Wellness, Alcohol and Violence Education and Services (WAVES) at George Mason University (GMU); and Samara Kimmelman, GMU graduate student.
The forum was launched in 2010 by UPC, and those attended urged that the program be continued and expanded.
Feedback has been positive, with participants praising the film, HAZE, for raising the awareness of the college drinking culture and for the breadth of the panel that answers questions from the audience.
The program is part of an ongoing effort by county leaders to address the health and legal risks associated with underage and binge drinking.
"This is a valuable program," said Sara Freund, UPC's deputy executive director who coordinates the forums.
For more information, contact Sara Freund, UPC deputy executive director, at 703-938-8723.
In February 2013, the Perils program was recognized with a national award at the leadership conference of the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA), the nation’s largest training conference on substance abuse prevention, treatment, recovery and research. Those attending the conference's IDEAS Fair voted the Perils program as the winner of the "People's Choice Award."
"This program should be extended across Virginia, in every community."
"HAZE should be required viewing for all high school students. It is a powerful movie."
Other Resource Links
- Commentary: Drinking and the College Experience Finally, in just a few short weeks, I'll be heading off to college. My family and neighbors are eager to give me advice and well wishes. But I'm beginning to notice that those conversations have become pretty biased. Read full article.
- Dangers of binge drinking addressed at NVCC forum. In 1997, Hayfield Secondary School graduate Jonathan Levy, 20, died in a head-on car accident after drinking all night at a party. Jonathan was a sophomore at Radford University and had been provided alcohol by older students. Read full article.
- Take Time to Talk Before College Begins Before your teen leaves for college, take some time to have a talk about your expectations and the importance of making good decisions.
- View 2013 Flyer
- View Press Release on 2013 forums
- NIAA College Fact Sheet: Underage College Drinking: A Significant Public Health Problem—According to a 4-page College Drinking fact sheet (April 2012) published by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), abusive and underage college drinking is a significant public health problem, and such drinking exacts an enormous toll on the intellectual and social lives of college students across the United States. The fact sheet summarizes recent statistics on the consequences of drinking among college students and recommendations for addressing college drinking.
- Ivy League universities are cracking down on out-of-control behavior as drinking, hazing and sexual harassment endanger students and tarnish schools' reputations.