Ohio College Initiative

From its origin in 1996, the Ohio College Initiative’s objective has been to reduce high-risk drinking and increase student wellness through campus and community collaborations and the implementation of strategies to promote healthier campus environments.

Originally, many colleges and universities came together for a meeting to address high-risk drinking and discussed how this issue could best be handled campus wide.  They began to look at high-risk drinking by focusing in the environment, policies, traditions, and norms.  From this initial meeting, 44 college and university presidents and 36 agency directors signed a commitment letter to address binge drinking.  19 of those institutions from around the state formed the Ohio College Initiative, then known as the Ohio 19, and began working intensively on this issue.

As a result of their efforts, student level of binge drinking prevention increased by 45%.  After this project, 95% of colleges reported having a task force that focused on reducing high-risk drinking on their campus.

Since the beginning, the Ohio College Initiative has grown from 19 to 52 campuses consisting of public and private institutions of all size.  Today the Ohio College Initiative works to address not only high-risk alcohol use but other substance misuse and mental health issues that can impact the health and wellness of college students.  

Drug Free Action Alliance supports the Ohio College Initiative in its efforts to reduce high-risk drinking and substance misuse by focusing on five environmental strategies.   These strategies are restricting the marketing and promotion of alcohol; improving social, recreational, and academic options; limiting alcohol availability; increasing consistent enforcement of laws and policies; and creating a health-promoting environment.  The Ohio College Initiative offers trainings, resources, support, and networking opportunities for its member institutions.