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Duke Hosts Forum About Redefining Campus Life

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DURHAM — Many students who could not make it to the ACC tournament are watching the action from bar stools instead, but some students say alcohol plays too big a role in college celebrations.

People from a dozen colleges around the country are at Duke this weekend to talk about re-defining campus life. They are worried about issues like binge drinking and drinking and driving. Their message to other students: it is okay to party, but not to get plastered.

"That's just part of being college-age, going out, having fun with your friends," says Duke student Jenny Horowitz.

It is one of the rituals of college life, watching the big game at a neighborhood bar surrounded by friends and celebrating with a couple of drinks.

"I've never seen anyone get hurt, or be destructive," Horowitz said. "Actually that's not true, but I've never seen anyone do it in a bad way."

Alcohol has always been a big part of the college scene. The group of students and advisors meeting at Duke are brainstorming ways to teach students to drink responsibly.

"If we're learning to be adults at universities, we've got to learn to drink in a responsible manner instead of abusing it," says Brandon Busteed with the Duke Campus Social Board.

Members of Duke's Campus Social Board want to re-define campus life, and make alcohol a less important part of the equation.

"I think kids when they go to school are definitely experimenting and that's part of the whole process, but I never thought it was the focal point when I was in school," says Duke graduate student Jake Henry.

That is the balance activists are trying to strike, by teaching students there's more to college than drinking.

"We're trying to catch freshman, right when they enter college, to break down those misconceptions of what college life is like and give them the idea that there are other alternatives," Busteed said.

Students at the conference say universities should host alcohol-free events. But they say banning alcohol altogether is the wrong approach. They suggest that schools host events where alcohol can is served legally and responsibly.