Skip to main content

Stay Connected to Dartmouth on:
Facebook Facebook
YouTube YouTube
Flickr  Flickr
Twitter Twitter
Instagram Instagram
Google+ Google+


Higher Education Act Information


Office of Communications
7 Lebanon St., Suite 201
Hanover, N.H. 03755
Phone: (603) 646-3661
Home >

High-Risk Drinking Reduction and Prevention Update

April 2012

Members of the Dartmouth community are working diligently to reduce high-risk drinking on campus. College drinking is a complex issue which Dartmouth is deeply committed to addressing.

President Jim Yong Kim founded the Student Presidential Alcohol Harm Reduction Committee (SPAHRC) shortly after arriving at Dartmouth in 2009. Early initiatives by SPAHRC include 2010 revisions to the Social Event Management Procedures and an expansion of alcohol free programming.

More recent work includes:

Green Team:
This is a student-run organization whose members monitor student events where alcohol is served at the request of a party's hosts. The goal of the Green Team is to provide students with the skills to recognize and intervene effectively in potentially dangerous situations. The practice is based on the successful "Quaker Bouncer" program, which was developed at Haverford College.

Increased support for social events and spaces without alcohol
The new coffee service in Baker Library run by King Arthur Flour is open late at night to provide an alcohol-free social space. Dartmouth has also provided increased funding for student-organized events that do not serve alcohol. Additionally, the renovated Class of 1953 Commons offers social space for student programming.

Increased staff
Dartmouth recently added four staff positions to address high-risk drinking. An additional community director provides greater supervision in residence halls. A new Greek Life coordinator works to enhance training and supervision of Greek Life Organizations. Interviews are currently underway for a second Alcohol and Other Drug Coordinator position in Health Promotion and a wellness director who will oversee our alcohol and sexual assault efforts. There is also a new position in the President's Office to lead student health efforts, with an emphasis on high-risk drinking and sexual assault.

In 2011, President Kim founded the National College Health Improvement Project (NCHIP) and the Dartmouth College Health Improvement Program (DCHIP) to tackle high-risk drinking using an evidence-based improvement model from the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI).

As part of NCHIP, Dartmouth created its Dartmouth College Health Improvement Program (DCHIP) Team in June 2011. The DCHIP team works on initiatives at Dartmouth and collaborates with multi-disciplinary campus improvement teams from the 31 other NCHIP schools from around the country.

The first six months of the group's work focused on individual drinkers. In January 2012, work shifted to focus on campus environments. The third area of focus, in July 2012, will be campus systems—how individual and environmental efforts fit together.

Dartmouth students, faculty, and staff are working collaboratively to develop a comprehensive, evidence-based approach to reduce the harm associated with high-risk alcohol consumption. The approach will include both prevention and intervention on the environmental, individual, and system levels. All students will experience campus strategies to prevent alcohol abuse. Additionally, students who have engaged in high-risk alcohol consumption will participate in programs appropriate to their individual needs. This effort will aid students in achieving their academic and personal potential, preparing each for a lifetime of learning and responsible citizenship and leadership.

DCHIP Team Members
Aurora Matzkin, Team Leader, President's office

Justin Anderson, Media Relations

Brian Bowden, Alcohol and Other Drug Coordinator

Ann Bracken, Physician and Institutional Research

Donald Brooks, Athletics

Paul Christensen, Faculty

Kristi Clemens, Undergraduate Deans Office

Will Conaway, Class of 2013

Lynn Foster-Johnson, Institutional Research

Matt Moses, Class of 2013

Salman Rajput, Class of 2014

April Thompson, Campus Life

Michael Wooten, Residential Education

Selected DCHIP Initiatives

Efforts focused on the individual:
Pre-Matriculation Alcohol Education Program: In Fall 2011, the incoming class of 2015 participated in two evidence-based alcohol education interventions: "Alcohol Edu" and "My Student Body." Students and their parents received an invitation to complete one of these two programs. A comparison of outcomes is underway. This will assist us in choosing the best program for Dartmouth students, which we hope will allow us to understand who among our students might be at risk and how we might be able to most effectively intervene.

Primary Care Screening: In July 2011, Dartmouth began routinely screening students for high-risk drinking at health care appointments. Students who report high-risk drinking receive an evidence-based brief intervention from their primary care provider at that appointment. Primary care providers have been trained to use motivational interviewing methods, which have proven to be effective with students.

Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students (BASICS): In September 2011, Dartmouth began using BASICS with students who have an alcohol incident. BASICS is a two-session evidence-based harm-reduction intervention that has been shown to reduce alcohol use and harm from alcohol use in college populations. Some students attend BASICS to fulfill a requirement as a result of an alcohol-related offense, while others participate because they would like to learn moderation strategies to reduce negative consequences from drinking.

This program is designed to assist students in examining their own drinking behavior in a judgment-free environment. The goals are selected by the student and aimed at reducing risky behaviors and harmful consequences of drinking. Students are invited to participate in BASICS within 72 hours of an alcohol incident, with the goal of having all students complete BASICS within two weeks of an incident. Preliminary analysis of students who completed BASICS during the fall 2011 term shows reductions in alcohol use 90 days after the intervention. In March 2012, additional campus staffers were trained in BASICS techniques, and the program is expanding to include athletes and students referred from residence life.

Efforts focused on the environment:
Residence Hall changes: Dartmouth is piloting a program in the Russell Sage Residence Hall which changes the way Undergraduate Advisors (UGAs) interact with first-year students who drink in the residence halls. The target is "pre-gaming," drinking before going out to parties, which is viewed as a high-risk activity. During spring 2012, UGAs in Russell Sage will interrupt pre-gaming and students who have been pre-gaming will be referred to BASICS. The focus of the pilot program is care and concern. The idea of penalizing students is not the priority. We hope that this pilot program will help us to learn effective ways of prevention and intervention that could be further expanded on the Dartmouth campus.

Parental Notification: Dartmouth is reviewing its parent notification practices after a student has an alcohol incident. A comparison of Dartmouth's practices and those of peer institutions is currently underway. Changes in the process are expected to be tested in the coming months.

DCHIP Data collection and monitoring: DCHIP monitors monthly data on alcohol use at Dartmouth. Measures include outcomes, for example, the percentage of students reporting high-risk drinking, alcohol related harms, medical encounters for intoxication, and law enforcement encounters. Also measured are the percentage of students screened for high-risk drinking in primary care and students with an alcohol incident completing a screening program called BASICS within two weeks of an alcohol incident.

See the Alcohol and Other Drug Program website:

Last Updated: 4/3/12