Incoming BU Freshman Will Now Be Required to Take Online Alcohol Test

The hours-long, mandatory program will force students to study the effects of alcohol.


Beer mug photo via Shutterstock

Before freshman arrive at Boston University in the fall, they will have to do some studying and take a test proving they know the risks and dangers of over-imbibing.

A new mandatory program being rolled out by the school, called AlcoholEdu for College, will make the incoming students sit at their computer for up to two hours (and in some cases maybe longer) while they answer questions about the myths of alcohol abuse based on packets of information and materials provided by officials.

According to BUToday, the hope of the two-part test, which includes a 15-minute survey, is that by forcing students to read up and sit through the end-of-summer exam, they will soak in some information about drinking to excess. Students will be required to complete the first part before arriving on campus, and the second part, the survey, will be filled out in October after they spend a few months on campus. “It is used by most of our peer institutions as a prevention-level intervention for first-year college students,” says Elizabeth Douglas, manager of wellness and prevention services at Student Health Services. “We are using AlcoholEdu because it has the capacity to track student completion, in addition to having evidence of its being an effective intervention.”

BU has kept tallies of the drinking habits of students over the course of the last two years, posting updates about hospital trips, party busts, and student arrests, via an infographic, after most weekend excursions.

The posts, called “Alcohol Enforcement Patrols,” were a campaign against alcohol abuse and “crucially publicizing statistics on booze-control efforts by University, Boston, and Brookline police.

The updates have been attributed to lowering alcohol-related violations and hospital runs last year. The program first started in 2011, modeled on a successful concept devised at the University of California to discourage dangerous drinking habits. The anti-alcohol blitzes were the results of what officials called “grim statistics,” from the previous academic year that showed 250 students, most of them freshmen, went to the hospital for acute intoxication.