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SHU teaches responsible drinking through education

While April is Alcohol Awareness Month, students can educate themselves about the topic throughout the school year by signing up for alcohol education programs offered by Seton Hall.

Programs offered include Anatomy of the Red Cup, How to Help a Friend and Drink Like a Lady, Act Like a Woman, according to SHU’s website. SHU has programs entitled Seton Hall University’s Guide to Hosting Safe Parties, Alcohol Use and Sexual Assault, and Stay in the SHU Blue: The ABC’s of BAC. Customized programs are also available to students upon request, SHU said.

Ashlee Carter, assistant director of Student Life, said these education programs are structured to serve the needs of students.

“Roughly 60 percent of our students are drinking responsibly when they choose to drink, and nearly a third of our students are not drinking at all, whether it be because they are not 21 or that they just choose not to drink,” Carter said via email. “We want to continue to positively acknowledge the students who choose to abstain, while also working to educate the students who drink to excess in hopes of changing their behavior.”

According to Carter, a message of the Alcohol Use and Sexual Assault program is “that heavy alcohol use and sexual assault often go hand in hand as either the victim, perpetrator, or both had been consuming alcohol prior to the incident.” However, Carter points out that consuming alcohol does not mean a person will become a victim of sexual assault and alcohol does not cause sexual assault. Even so, the No. 1 date rape drug is alcohol, she said.

“This program also discusses the importance of bystander intervention as well as navigating consent when alcohol is involved, because if you are incapacitated due to alcohol or drugs, you cannot give consent to any sexual activity,” Carter stated.

In addition, Carter mentioned the CHOICES program, which is for students that are “first-time violators” of SHU’s alcohol policy. “CHOICES is an evidence-based harm reduction program, with content that applies equally to all levels of alcohol use from students who abstain from drinking to those who are frequent heavy drinkers,” she said. The program is offered in the form of a workshop once a month.

“Alcohol use behavior and patterns of college students can change over the years,” Carter explained. “So it’s important to monitor trends and behaviors and offer programs that speak to what our students are experiencing now.”

Carter has done several programs for Greek organizations over the years on alcohol use or sexual assault, she said. Usually, Greek Life organizations request these education programs, she added.

One president of a Greek organization thinks that having alcohol education programs could be helpful.

Tammy Quach is the president of Alpha Phi Eta Eta, as well as a junior special education and environmental studies major. She said Alpha Phi hosts two programming events for the chapter every month. The events include healthcare, fitness, sisterhood, alcohol awareness, CPR and more, Quach said.

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“One thing that I have noticed is this black out culture/idea. A lot of people, not only at Seton Hall, have this idea that they need to drink until they are blacked out,” Quach said.

In addition to these programs, Carter also does another one in conjunction with Roberto Sasso, assistant athletics director for Student-Athlete Development and Leadership. The program is for athletes who move off campus.

The program “discusses statistics on alcohol use of collegiate athletes, how to host a safe party off campus, NCAA rules and regulations around alcohol use, and a discussion of other student conduct policies,” she said.

“We host this program because we want to make sure the student-athletes are prepared and have an understanding of university policies and local laws when they are moving off campus,” Sasso said in an email interview.

Samantha Todd can be reached at


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