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Alcohol, Drugs, and the College Student

Dr. Jennifer Morrow is a faculty member in Evaluation, Statistics, and Measurement and a professor for FYS 129 freshman seminar who has conducted numerous projects investigating college student drinking and drug use prevention. Naturally, she combined her background in alcohol and drug research and FYS 129 seminar to form a semester long course titled Alcohol, Drugs, and the College Student. Dr. Morrow recently presented on her FYS 129 seminar at the European First Year Conference held in England. She spoke about how she teaches her FYS 129 seminar and the potential benefits of introducing a similar seminar at other schools.

2014-04-08 16.37.19Her research concluded that first-year students who were exposed to expressive writing intervention and online intervention showed the greatest changes in perception of drinking and reduction in binge drinking. Based on these findings, she created an FYS 129 experience that educates students on how drugs and alcohol impact the body and academic experience. She reports the course is about providing information and empowering the students to make informed decisions. This is accomplished through group discussions and debates, challenging currently held perceptions, and creating signs/messaging that would effectively catch the attention of collegians. Dr. Morrow says the students definitely respond to the material presented in the course.

Dr. Morrow hopes the main takeaway from the Alcohol, Drugs, and the College Student Seminar is increased student knowledge on how drugs and alcohol impact the students in terms of their bodies, life consequences, academics, and effects on those around them. Her reward is students reporting they have reconsidered their decisions and encouraged their friends to make smart decisions regarding substance use.

To learn more about Dr. Morrow’s research, please find the below resources:

Morrow, J. A., Burr, E. M., Kaesbauer, S., Dunaway, K., & Foster, L. (2008, June). Reducing First-Year Students’ Binge Drinking: Is an Online Intervention an Effective Approach? Paper presentation at the International Conference on The First-Year Experience, Dublin, Ireland.

Morrow, J.A., Burr, E., Ackermann, M., Lewis, R., & Kaesbauer, S. (2008, August). Utilizing online expressive writing and behavioral monitoring to reduce high-risk drinking. Poster presented at the American Psychological Association (APA) annual convention, Boston, MA.

Morrow, J.A., & Daulton, B. (2013, February). Incorporating substance abuse prevention messages within a first-year seminar. Poster presented at the Annual Conference for The First-Year Experience & Students in Transition, Orlando, FL.

Morrow, J.A. (2014, June). Using collaborative and expressive writing activities to educate first-year students about alcohol and drugs. Paper presented at the European First Year Experience Conference, Nottingham, England.