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Educating Students On The Dangers Of Excessive Drinking

Steven Depolo/flickr

Most colleges and Universities in Maryland are at least 3 weeks into their fall semester. And if we go on research, many college freshman are at least 3 weeks into their peak drinking season. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, college freshman are most vulnerable to heavy drinking during the first six weeks of school.

Student safety has been in many people’s thoughts lately, after a Towson University freshman, Julia Margaret Ratnaraj, died in an off-campus apartment a week and a half ago. Friends said she had been drinking, although the extent of the role alcohol played in her death is not yet clear.  She died from head and neck injuries sustained when she fell into a glass door, and her death was ruled an accident. 
We want to get a better understanding of what some local colleges are doing to prevent harm and address the issue of excessive drinking.   For starters, we asked two seniors at UMBC: the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, how they define excessive drinking.  Both are 21, over the legal drinking age.  We hear first from Yoo-Jin Kang, then from Caroline, who preferred to use only her first name.

Then Sheilah speaks with Dr. Amelia Arria, Associate Professor in the University of Maryland College Park’s Department of Behavioral and Community Health and the Director of the Center on Young Adult Health and Development at the University of Maryland School of Public Health.    

Also with us again on the line from Frostburg State University is Jeff Graham, Frostburg State University’s Assistant Vice President for Student & Educational Services.
Dr. Arria is the co-director of the Maryland Collaborative to Reduce College Drinking and Related Problems. Graham is involved with FSU's participation in the Collaborative. Sheilah spoke with them last yearwhen the Collaborative released a reporton the status of college drinking.
Special thanks to Alana Carchedi, communications specialist at the University of Maryland, College Park for engineering our conversation with Dr. Arria. 

UMBC senior Caroline talks about why freshman drink, how they get access to alcohol, and what's needed to curb excessive drinking on campus.
Yoo-Jin Kang tells us why students need more than alcohol education, and discusses perceptions of the 'typical' college student.
WEB EXTRA: Sheilah asks the question 'Is student drinking getting better, or worse, or is it staying the same?'


Sheilah Kast is the host of On The Record, Monday-Friday, 9:30-10:00 am.
Jamyla Krempel is WYPR's digital content director and the executive producer of Wavelength: Baltimore's Public Radio Journey. She collaborates with reporters, program and podcast hosts to create content for WYPR’s online platforms.