Wednesday, September 2, 2009

The College Brew-HaHa

I can relate to the outrage of college-themed beer being sold in markets with a large population of underaged kids away from home for the first time. It was two weeks ago today that hubby drove our first-born up to move into his dorm for his freshman year. But tough times calls for a better marketing move than this desperate attempt to bond to the "college spirit" which fires up every autumn. It has created quite a backlash against the "fan can" concept Budweiser was trying to promote.

In the parent's meeting at the Boy's college orientation last summer, the administrator in charge of handling student's health asked an auditorium full of parents, "How many of you are concerned about your child and alcohol their freshman year?" 90% of the hands went up. Next she asked, "How many of you think your child has never had a drink?" 80% of the hands went up. She went on to explain that on average, 80% of freshman have a drink during their first year. Of that group, 80% of those kids had consumed alcohol before the school year even started. An indication that there is a large disconnect between what parents think their kids are doing and what is actually going on.

And honestly since the passage of the drinking age from 18 to 21 there has been a lack of any sort of education that parents can follow, instead it is a secret inauguration typically conducted with their peers. There are some handouts available through the TABC that details the laws of Texas as regards to parents responsibilities (sadly these are available in English only). But a misperception still remains about what role a parent can play in their child's education about a legal drug that can, in excess, kill them.

But here's what I liked about the college he was attending, because it made so much sense. They required all incoming Freshman to take an online Alcohol Awareness class before school started. It was approximately 6 hours long, and appeared to be modeled very similarly to the classes that servers take to be Certified by the TABC. And yes, this is teaching them about something that is supposed to be at their age, illegal, but an abstinance only policy has proven to be a failure in helping and protecting students.

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