NCAA Press Release

2018 NCAA CHOICES grant program selects winners


University of Arkansas (Division I; Southeastern Conference)

In 1871 the University of Arkansas established its campus on a hilltop overlooking the Ozark Mountains. More than 140 years later, the university has reached a record enrollment of 27,558 students who experience 200 different academic programs comprised of a student body representing all 50 states and 120 countries. The mission of the University of Arkansas is to serve Arkansas and beyond as a partner, resource, and catalyst. That ‘students-first’ philosophy is a big reason why the U of A is consistently ranked among the nation’s top public research universities. Campus truly is its own community with a multitude of activities and opportunities in which students can get involved. At the U of A, 30 percent of all students and 60 percent of freshman are involved in Greek Life. There are also more than 380 registered student organizations. Aside from different organizations students can join, students can attend distinguished lectures, concerts, live theater and films on campus. One factor that truly unifies the campus community is the love and support the students share for the Arkansas Razorbacks. The University of Arkansas Razorbacks are a NCAA Division I member institution competing in the Southeastern Conference. More than 460 student-athletes compete in 19 different sports. The university hosts more than 200 athletic events every year! In the fall 2017 semester, Arkansas student- athletes earned a program record 3.25 grade point average and participated in more than 3,356 community service hours. Community engagement focuses in three areas, one of which is promoting healthy lifestyles.

Alcohol is considered a commonly used substance on most college campuses and is one of the leading causes of death for individuals 21 years old and younger. Recent (2016-17) statistics on alcohol consumption at the University of Arkansas revealed that 19 percent of freshman students in 2014-15 drank alcohol and demonstrated high-risk (e.g., binge drinking, taking shots and chugging alcohol) drinking behaviors. Forty-one percent of the sample reported blacking out due to alcohol consumption and 53 percent reported experiencing a hangover. According to U of A police statistics (2016) there were 379 liquor law violations for which students were referred for disciplinary action. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (2018), excessive drinking can impede academic success. Given that the University of Arkansas student population continues to grow and members of Greek Life, student-athletes, and first year students (which together comprise nearly 40 percent of the student population) are considered at-risk in regard to alcohol abuse, it is vitally important to integrate students into a campus-wide effort to reduce alcohol abuse in-line with the university’s “student first” mentality.

The NCAA CHOICES grant will assist in our developing a registered student organization, Razorbacks Offering Accountability Resources. The goal of ROAR is to create student-led initiatives (e.g., public service announcements, bystander intervention, alcohol awareness week, sober spring break) that reduce alcohol misuse and abuse behaviors among a variety of student populations through a campus-wide effort to help University of Arkansas’ students make better decisions regarding alcohol usage. Through campus partnerships among Athletics, the Walton College of Business, the College of Education and Health Professions, New Student and Family Programming, Housing Education, Substance Education and Alcohol Resources, Greek Life and University of Arkansas Police Department, ROAR strives to achieve the following objectives: 1) develop and implement bystander/BACCHUS training for student leaders; 2) develop and disseminate alcohol messaging and create strategic marketing efforts that reflect current alcohol trends on campus; 3) increase student awareness regarding alcohol related resources; and 4) decrease high-risk alcohol usage among students.