Alcohol Education Required for UMinn Freshmen

Updated: 09/20/2013 7:38 AM By: Todd Wilson

University of Minnesota requires freshmen to take alcohol education course.
University of Minnesota requires freshmen to take alcohol education course.

Alex Flucke and Lauren Fischer enjoy their lunch at Coffman Union at the University of Minnesota. Before they ever got a chance to step on campus this year as freshman, they had to complete an online alcohol course called AlcoholEdu.

"It was like an online test, and we were educated about alcohol, being safe on the campus; it was like two hours, three hours long," Flucke said.

For the first time, the university sent out emails over the summer with a link to the class. Each freshman - all 1,672 of them - had to complete the first part of the course by Welcome Week.

"It was fine, it got a little long, especially during the summer you don't want to be sitting taking a test," Fisher said.

More than 500 campuses - including Northwestern University, the University of Wisconsin and Purdue University - require freshman to take the AlcoholEdu course before starting their first semester, said Dave Golden, who helped establish the course at the University of Minnesota.

Locally, the U spent $45,000 to set up the course. Golden said AlcoholEdu is a combination of surveys, questions and videos about alcohol safety tips and how students use and think about alcohol.

"And 83 percent of our students completed the first portion - the portion they were supposed to for AlcoholEdu. Next month, they take part two, and part of it is a follow-up survey in terms of what happened now during these first few weeks of school," he said.

Golden said the course has proven to be effective in decreasing high-risk drinking at other universities.

Flucke said even though she's not a drinker, she would agree.

"I definitely think they should keep making freshman take it," Flucke said.