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This article presents an evaluation of Common Ground, a media campaign-supported prevention program featuring increased enforcement, decreased alcohol access, and other environmental management initiatives targeting college student drinking.


Phase 1 of the media campaign addressed student resistance to environmentally focused prevention by reporting majority student support for alcohol policy and enforcement initiatives. Phase 2 informed students about state laws, university policies, and environmental initiatives. We conducted student telephone surveys, with samples stratified by gender and year in school, for 4 consecutive years at the intervention campus and 3 years at a comparison campus. We did a series of one-way between-subjects analyses of variance and analyses of covariance, followed by tests of linear trend and planned comparisons. Targeted outcomes included perceptions of enforcement and alcohol availability, alcohol use, and alcohol-impaired driving. We examined archived police reports for student incidents, primarily those resulting from loud parties.


There were increases at the intervention campus in students' awareness of formal alcohol-control efforts and perceptions of the alcohol environment, likelihood of apprehension for underage drinking, consequences for alcohol-impaired driving, and responsible alcohol service practices. There were decreases in the perceived likelihood of other students' negative behavior at off-campus parties. Police-reported incidents decreased over time; however, perceived consequences for off-campus parties decreased. No changes were observed for difficulty finding an off-campus party, self-reported alcohol use, or alcohol-impaired driving.


The intervention successfully altered perceptions of alcohol enforcement, alcohol access, and the local alcohol environment. This study provides important preliminary information to researchers and practitioners engaged in collaborative prevention efforts in campus communities.