Drinking in Greek Life: 5 Things Colleges Can Do

Calender Posted on: January 22, 2021clock Time to read: 2 minutes

Fraternities have been a way of life for many college students over the years. For some, joining Greek Life is just as important as attending college itself and may be a sort of family tradition with generations being involved in the same Greek fraternity. 

Fraternities are not only social organizations that help develop leadership skills-- they also provide helpful community services to the area around them.  However, there is a dark side to fraternities that dampens their positive deeds: their association with heavy alcohol use and the problems that occur because of it. 

"One ten-year study detailed that Greek life in college resulted in chronic alcohol abuse. It found that out of 3,400 members, 97 percent of them drank alcohol regularly, and many were classified as binge drinkers that didn’t know when to stop." 

Alcohol Use in Fraternities

Alcohol use in fraternities is a prevalent problem. While many students view it as part of the fraternity experience or party culture, drinking can be harmful and cause serious injury or death. Alcohol can also play a central role in socialization, hazing, and pledging rituals.

Research by the University of Michigan found that:    

  • About half of all fraternity members have experienced alcohol use disorder (AUD) by the age of 35.
  • Even just one semester in a fraternity resulted in higher binge drinking rates during and after college through the age of 35. 

An article in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs gave these startling statistics about college drinking:  

  • 600,000 alcohol-related unintentional injuries every year. 
  • 700,000 assaults annually by college students who were drinking. 
  • 1,500 alcohol-related student deaths. 
  • In 97,000 sexual assault cases yearly in college, alcohol played a factor. 

One ten-year study detailed that Greek life in college resulted in chronic alcohol abuse. It found that out of 3,400 members, 97 percent of them drank alcohol regularly, and many were classified as binge drinkers that didn’t know when to stop.  

Preventing Harmful Alcohol Use in Fraternities 

According to the Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse and Violence Prevention, college and universities should:

  1. Promote alcohol- and drug-free social, recreational, and extracurricular options and public service.
  2. Create a social, academic, and residential environment that promotes healthy social norms.
  3. Limiting alcohol availability and access.
  4. Limit marketing and promotion of alcohol.
  5. Enforce campus policy and state and local laws.

By working with campus prevention specialists and implementing a multi-factor approach, fraternities and sororities can target the culture of drinking in their Greek organizations and prevent and reduce harm. An essential component to changing students’ attitudes about drinking is prevention education. 

Greek-Wise: Alcohol Prevention Education for Fraternities and Sororities 

Greek-Wise is a two-hour online course for fraternities and sororities which is designed to reduce risks and make a positive impact on Greek organizations. It teaches students alcohol awareness and covers topics of social responsibility and bystander awareness. It helps students develop the skills for making good decisions, assessing behavior, and recognizing the consequences of using alcohol. 

Greek-Wise can be easily incorporated into new member education. Through effective alcohol prevention education, fraternity and sorority leadership can help their chapters be safer and healthier, and can work with colleges and universities to effectively reduce frequent and heavy drinking.

Make a Change in Your Greek Life

If you’re looking to improve campus life or to continue a culture of excellence in your Greek organization, consider 3rd Millennium Classrooms. We offer a suite of evidence-based courses that can help with everything from prevention education to intervention courses for sanctions. Get in touch to bring our online courses to your campus today.