As SADD focuses on promoting a healthy lifestyle, action cannot be done alone. College students have joined together to change the stereotype of consuming substances, and they have shared a powerful message through their actions.
The common stereotype associated with college students, especially through TV shows and movies, is that they use their free time to drink alcohol or take drugs and party. Though currently, this has not been the case.
In the article “The Rise of the Sober College Students,” Kate Bellows writes about how college students have started turning down alcohol. Moreover, they have taken the extra step and utilized social media to create an environment where college is not equivalent to drinking, and the space ensures that people grow more aware of having a sober lifestyle.
This change in the perception of many college students and determination to create an impact for future college students can be a start for having more people have a substance-free life, especially when in college and underage.
In Virginia, SADD has launched college programs. Recently at Christopher Newport University and Roanoke College, chapters hosted mocktail events. These events focus on education about the dangers of impaired driving, and students were served alcohol-free alternatives to beverages they may be served at parties. SADD students on these campuses are setting the standard that even once you are 21 and old enough to drink, you do not need to drink alcohol to have fun.
Deanna Grossi, a Community Engagement Intern for Virginia SADD and president of her chapter at Roanoke College, shared, “Choosing to be sober on my campus has not resulted in a negative reaction from my peers, as expected when I got here. I have never experienced or seen anyone experience any peer pressure for choosing not to drink. I know many students who still go out without drinking alcohol, and they have fun! A lot of them love to be the designated driver for the night, which may not seem like a fun thing to do, but they like being able to help their friends and be sober just in case of an emergency. I feel like no matter where you go on a night out, you can always find someone who is sober or does not drink.”
For additional information on the dangers of driving impaired and other key driving skills, check out the NRSF Passport to Safe Driving!
Adding on, the students are not only making an impact through the media, but through campus-wide events, influencing their own peers and fellow college students to not consume substances. The article mentions Bucknell and Brown University holding the most prominent drug and alcohol-free events. With a decently large audience attending these events, the impact reaches the target audience and can allow more college students to steer away from substances.
SADD students are thrilled to see more action being done to address the growing issue of substance use in academic settings, such as colleges. With determination, people can make change and have a healthier, and better, school environment for all of the other students and themselves. These college changemakers also inspire future young leaders to step up and use their voice, whether that means through social media or holding a community-wide event.
These college students are driven to have change and more safer, healthier college campuses. Together, we can help say no to substances and build a more sober, happier lifestyle.
Interested in more conversations like this one? Consider joining SADD for the 2023 Summer Conference Series, a virtual event focused on celebrating youth health and safety all summer long. Learn more and register for free below!