Students have many choices about how to spend their social time at WSU. Like most other universities during the Week of Welcome, WSU is offering students the opportunity to explore what they expect and want from a university social experience, including substance use and sexual decision making in the Booze, Sex and Reality Checks outreach during the WSU Week of Welcome.
This outreach is put on by staff from WSU Counseling Services and ADCAPS and is geared to help students transition into the university social scene and culture. Students can participate in a Reality Checks outreach through their residence hall or through the Greek community recruitment process. Remember: This is a required outreach for all incoming first year students. Not attending the Reality Checks outreach will result in a mandatory hold placed on spring registration.
How do we know this class is effective? We conducted a campus-wide survey of students’ alcohol use in early-mid February 2013 in order to assess the effectiveness of the Booze, Sex, and Reality Checks (BSRC) program, developed and implemented by Alcohol and Drug Counseling, Assessment, & Prevention Services (ADCAPS) during the Week of Welcome in August 2012. There were 2204 survey respondents, of whom 615 were first year students for a return rate of 28%, representing ~15% of the first year student class on the Pullman campus.
Here’s what students told us. Primary findings of the 2013 survey compared to 2012 data:
- In this year’s first year student class, a significantly higher proportion of students report they do not drink at all: 34% vs. 28%.
- They were less likely to:
- Have had anything to drink in the past 30 days (24% vs. 34%)
- Engaged in less high risk drinking of 5 or more in a single sitting in the last two weeks (44% vs. 49%)
- Reported drinking significantly less frequently in the last month
- Significantly fewer report having experienced harm related to use of alcohol, including:
- Blackouts (32% vs. 52%)
- Unprotected sex (16% vs. 24%)
- Injuring themselves (20% vs. 26%) or others (2% vs. 4%)
- Regretting their actions (42% vs. 57%)
- Their assessment of social norms - the perception of how much and how often other students drink - is significantly more accurate than was the first year student cohort of 2011.
Why should my student take this class? Through the Booze, Sex, and Reality Checks outreach students will engage in interactive discussion that includes:
Information about substance use to help make independent and informed decisions
between alcohol/drug use and other life experiences, such as academic performance, sexual decision making, and stress.
How to minimize unwanted consequences of substance use (hangover, blackout, detox, academic difficulties, regrets, etc.)
Our approach is based on harm reduction
and accepts students wherever they are: those who already have a social community at university and those who aren't socially connected yet; those who choose not to drink and those who do drink; those who are sexually active and those who are not. The Booze, Sex, and Reality Checks outreach is designed to provide students with information regarding alcohol use and associated negative consequences, and the skills to reduce risky use and/or abstain from substance use altogether.
In sum, students will have many choices about how to spend social time at WSU. Yes, just like at any other university, some student at WSU party - use alcohol and other substances. If one is looking for it, partying is available at college. It is a part of university life and in the environment. However, research over the past decade tells us that WSU does not have a bigger problem than other universities of similar size and demographics. Specifically, the research indicates that when WSU students party, the majority tend to drink moderately or not atall. In fact, a significant portion of our student population (~20%) doesn't drink or use other substances at all (WSU NCHA, 2012).
Social life and fun activities at WSU
Although Pullman is a small town, there are many fun social activities to choose from on campus and in the surrounding area. Below are a few websites which focus on some of the many recreation, wellbeing, and leisure activities available. Students can choose from arts clubs, weekend eco-adventures, dance classes, cooking in the dorm, sports teams, student government, movies in the CUB, and much more. The vast majority of fun, social activities available at WSU are very well attended by students and don't include partying or substance use/abuse. There are many avenues to "get to know" other students and make friends, even if your student doesn't know anyone at the beginning of the year.
The individual residence halls have weekly, if not daily, activities for each floor/hall of students to join. Each residence hall has its own "personality" and culture, so we suggest talking with someone in housing to find a good match: http://housing.wsu.edu/