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Wake Forest Takes New Approach To Tackle Binge Drinking

Wake Forest University is greeting new students on campus this fall with a set of new rules governing alcohol consumption. They're not banning - or even limiting - access to booze though. Wake Forest University officials want their students to do more partying on campus. "We've had some incidents off campus that are of concern to us and felt that we need to modify our policy to be more effective," explains Ken Zick, Dean of Student Life at Wake Forest. In January, hundreds of students showed up to a party at a house off-campus. Six ended up in the emergency room with alcohol poisoning. Wake Forest officials estimate 25 percent of their undergrads binge drink at one time or another. And Zick says parties off campus have a way of getting out of control. So, the school took a close look at its campus activities and existing venues. Zick says Wake Forest has plenty of small spaces but few large enough for the kind of gatherings students are planning off-campus. "So we are designing a large social venue to accommodate parties and concerts and dances for the campus," says Zick. Part of the thinking is it'll be easier to police the drinking age on campus. Students who throw parties off campus that get out of hand and result in a visit from the cops could be forced to move back into campus housing under the new policy. For the first time, Wake Forest University has also hired a substance abuse counselor. And Zick says a student's parents will now be notified for any drug or alcohol violation.