Faculty & Staff

Faculty and staff members have substantial impact on the campus culture around alcohol use. The negative impacts of higher use and abuse of alcohol include:

  • More missed classes
  • Less time spent studying
  • Lower GPAs

Lowering alcohol consumption is one effective way to increase academic success.

Strategies that increase academic success are something everyone on campus can support and encourage. 

How to support campus prevention efforts

Use your syllabus

As you set the norms and expectations for student behavior in your classroom, consider including information on the effects of alcohol on academic performance or resources to help.  For example:

  • Throughout the semester you may experience a range of issues that can cause barriers to learning and may lead to diminished academic performance.  St. Cloud State University provides services to assist you in addressing these issues.  If you need more information about issues relating to alcohol or other drugs, please contact UChoose within the office of Student Life & Development at uchoose@stcloudstate.edu or 320-308-4179.

Debunk student misperceptions

Research shows that students have many misperceptions about the role of alcohol use in the lives of other students. They consistently overestimate what their peers consume and the frequency of negative consequences.

At St. Cloud State, about 40 percent of our students choose NOT to use alcohol, according to the university's 2017 results in the College Student Health Survey.

St. Cloud State data has been collected since 2005. You can make a significant impact by knowing accurate alcohol use statistics and avoiding statements that reinforce misperceptions.

Identifying students at risk

As faculty and staff members, students may confide in you about problems they are experiencing, or you may recognize that they are having difficulties.

To offer assistance, it is necessary to become familiar with the signs that a student might be experiencing difficulties due to their alcohol and/or drug use. Remember that you are not expected to be an expert in this area.

The first step in helping a student is to recognize that a problem might exist and offer assistance. This simple gesture may be all it takes for a student to seek help.


  • Appearing under the influence during class.
  • Preoccupation with alcohol and other drug use, which may be evident in conversation or coursework.
  • Absenteeism and/or changes in work or academic performance.
  • Changes in mood or behavior.
  • Trouble with police or university officials due to alcohol and/or drug use.
  • Increased tolerance and/or difficulty cutting down or controlling level of use.
  • Feelings of guilt, shame or sadness regarding use of substances.
  • Feeling annoyed or attacked when asked about their drinking or drug use.

Steps for offering assistance

  • Select a private location to talk.
  • Briefly describe your observations of their situation; express your concerns directly and honestly.
  • Listen carefully, reflect back what you are hearing without judgment or evaluation.
  • Ask about their current support system(s) and validate any effort they have taken to consider or address the concern.
  • Have resource information available to provide the student.
  • Offer to help them connect with available resources.
  • Remember that even if the student refuses your help, you played a critical role in helping them consider whether a problem exists.

Schedule a UChoose presentation

Schedule an UChoose presentation for your class!

Presentations on issues that intersect with alcohol and other drugs can be adjusted to fit your syllabus.

UChoose is an evidence-based campus prevention effort that focuses on the reduction of high-risk alcohol use. We offer a 50-minute interactive presentation that uses empirically based theories and approaches for college students.

Students learn about why people choose to drink, standard drink size, how the body reacts to alcohol, campus policies and city ordinances around alcohol use, and tips to help them make informed choices if they choose to consume alcohol. 

We would love to educate your class, student organization or group.

Take advantage of teachable moments

When alcohol or drug-related events occur in the media or when partying comes up in a pre-class discussion, use that time to promote healthy and responsible choices. 

Use your influence as an authority to share statistics or challenge the misperceptions of alcohol’s role in campus life.

Become a Recovery Ally!

The Recovery Ally program trains faculty and staff to be supportive of students in recovery from drugs and alcohol. Trainings are offered multiple times each semester, and can be requested for your department or staff my contacting Thaddeus Rybka, Recovery Community Coordinator.

Inclusive language is a great way to show support. Language is powerful – especially when talking about addictions. Stigmatizing language perpetuates negative perceptions. They can discourage, shame, isolate and embarrass. Focus on using “person first” language as it focuses on the person, not the disorder.


SAY THIS                                                                                NOT THIS

Person with a substance use disorder                                   Addict, junkie, drug abuser

Person living in recovery                                                     Ex-addict

Person living with an addiction                                             Battling/suffering from an addiction

Person arrested for drug violation                                        Drug offender

Misuse                                                                               Abuse

Substance use disorder; addiction                                       Substance abuse disorder; drug habit

Had a setback/recurrence of symptoms                                Relapsed

Positive drug screen                                                           Dirty drug screen


Information about recovery, recovery resources, and our Recovery Community at St. Cloud State.