Parent and Family Member Guide for Talking with College Students About Alcohol

Dear CSU Parents and Family Members,

Our students’ parents and family members are important partners in the work we do at CSU to assist students in identifying, articulating and achieving their dreams. You are a critical partner in our efforts to inform students about alcohol use and abuse. Alcohol can be a significant issue in the lives of students in both high school and college and throughout their lives. Whether students abstain from alcohol entirely or not, it is an influence in their lives and in the lives of their family and friends. Alcohol abuse is, unfortunately, all too common on college campuses. This is a social issue, and all of us – students, families, faculty and staff – need to work together to stop excessive drinking from taking place among students here at CSU. Alcohol abuse is a serious problem with serious consequences.

This handbook, brought to you by the CSU Health Network and Parent and Family Programs, is one important way we hope to engage family members in critical conversations with their students about alcohol BEFORE they arrive at CSU. The recommendations it offers have been tested at numerous colleges and universities and are supported by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. We hope you will find the various strategies outlined here helpful as you think about how to speak most effectively with your CSU student prior to their arrival on campus.

Some key points to remember are:

  • The transition from high school to college provides families with an optimal time to talk about this issue with their son or daughter.
  • Research suggests that discussions just prior to starting college lead to lower alcohol consumption during the first year.
  • Further, talking with your daughter or son lowers the risk of them experiencing serious alcohol-related consequences. This means not only talking prior to their arrival on campus, but also keeping those conversations going after they are here.

While alcohol abuse is a social issue, individual actions still matter. We ask you to take the initiative to talk with your student about alcohol use. By having your student well informed about familial expectations and the serious consequences associated with alcohol abuse, they will be better prepared to address any challenging situations they are faced with at CSU or beyond, and, we hope, confident that you are someone they can call to discuss questions or concerns they might have about this important topic. We hope this handbook will help make those conversations easier.

If you have any questions about this handbook, please contact Andrea Coryell, Assistant Director of Alcohol and Other Drugs, at