UW-Madison is widely recognized as one of the top party schools in the nation. On a campus of boozing, partying and pregaming, efforts are being taken to reduce high-risk drinking.

For many new students, starting college also means making new habits.

That’s why campus units started The First 45 Days program.

The program encourages healthy habits particularly around drinking during the first few weeks of school.

“We expect that high-risk drinking will probably increase from when before students get here to when students get into our environment. But we’re trying to make it not increase as much. We’re trying to decrease the increase,” Jenny Damask, UHS Substance Abuse Prevention Specialist, said.

The First 45 Days program began in 2014 after data from an online alcohol education program showed a need to address high-risk drinking.

For UWPD, the program means being more present among students such as in dorms like Sellery and outside liquor stores double checking IDs.

“Just seeing us out there, having a more of an increased presence in the residence hall I think is a deterring factor in helping students make better decisions,” Marc Lovicott, UWPD Communications Director, said.

University Housing is another major player in the program since the majority of new students live in dorms.

Witte Residence Hall holds a meeting within the first week of students moving to campus.

“UHS, Res Life and UWPD all get together to do an info session on managing low-risk drinking habits,” Kate Young, University Housing Residence Life Coordinator, said.

Housing also provides alcohol-free events for these non-drinkers to feel less alienated from the campus culture.

This year’s program is wrapping up now and data will be analyzed in the coming months.

For the Badger Report, I’m Sophia Dramm.

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