Parent Awareness and Education Programs
"Perils of the College Drinking Culture” Forums in 2014
Two regional "Perils of the College Drinking Culture" forums were held in 2014 for Fairfax County college-bound students and their parents. The highly acclaimed program of the Unified Prevention Coalition of Fairfax County (UPC) kicked off April 29 at Langley High School, and the final forum was held May 21 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.
PREVIEW THE EDITED, 36-MINUTE DOCUMENTARY; copyrighted by the Gordie Center for Substance Abuse Prevention at the University of Virginia for private use only. Duplication, re-broadcast or other use in whole or part without the express permission of the Gordie Center is prohibited.
The forum includes viewing of an award-winning powerful (and graphic) documentary, HAZE, followed by a panel discussion with local experts and extensive Q & A.
The 2014 schedule included:
- Tuesday, April 29 at Langley High School auditorium in McLean
- Wednesday, May 21 at Northern Virginia Community College's Ernst Community Cultural Center, Annandale
- See Attached Flier for Perils events.
Among those who took part in the program and/or served on the distinguished panel in 2014: Ray Morrogh, Commonwealth's Attorney for Fairfax County; Casey Lingan, Chief Deputy, Commonwealth's Attorney for Fairfax County; Fairfax County Police Department 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); Ryan Smith, Virginia Tech Transportation Institute alcohol researcher; and local college students.
In 2013, forums were held at:
- McLean High School: View article from this event.
- Westfield High School auditorium in Chantilly
- Northern Virginia Community College's Ernst Community Cultural Center: View article from this event.
The forum was launched in 2010 by UPC with collaboration from the Fairfax County Police Department, and those who 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.