The Wellness Resource Center recently asked students to consider how they might benefit from abstaining from alcohol. During Colorado College’s first Alcohol-Free Week, the WRC challenged the student body to do just that from April 2–6.
The WRC aimed to raise an awareness among the CC student body on the reality of a nearly, or even totally, alcohol-free life. Because post-graduate life will consist of more pressing responsibilities and less leisure time than college life, the WRC intended to present students with a preview of what their future may resemble.
Throughout WRC’s first Alcohol-Free Week, they posted daily messages related to alcohol abstinence on Instagram and Facebook. These posts served as a means of encouragement for students who consciously chose to abstain from alcohol. The WRC’s posts ranged from explicating the benefits of going alcohol-free, to instructions on how to help a friend who is struggling with alcohol abuse, to weekend activities alternative to drinking.
The WRC’s most popular post included a Medium article by Scott Marquart titled, “6 Things I Learned from One Week Without Alcohol.” The article recounted Marquart’s discovery of monetary alternatives to alcohol and his improved mental clarity. “There’s a power in knowing that life without drinking is still life in all of its fullness,” Marquart wrote. “Going even just this one week without alcohol provided an excellent lens for observing my life, and it presented a number of important realizations.” Students who chose to abstain during Alcohol-Free Week could readily relate with Marquart, in both their struggles and triumphs, as they also realized they could experience a fulfilled life without alcohol.
In the future, the WRC envisions proposing both a seven- and 30-day alcohol-free challenge during the month of April. During this extensive abstinence period, students will formally sign a pledge at the beginning of the month to restrain from drinking. Throughout April, the WRC anticipates collaborating with The Office of Campus Activities to host multiple alcohol-free events, such as trivia nights and dance parties. The WRC aims to reorient the commonly held association between a “fun time” and “being drunk” by encouraging students to enjoy themselves without alcohol. The WRC hopes that, as students share their stories of going alcohol-free with one another, the powerful exchange of testimonies will encourage larger groups of students that there are different means of deriving pleasure than simply alcohol.
“I [would] love [for] more students to feel comfortable in engaging with us in the Wellness Resource Center about conversations around not drinking, and critically examining drinking behaviors,” said Chris Walters, the Health Educator at the WRC. “And I’d also love if … you know, out of this campaign, students felt more comfortable in working with us, and potentially creating a student group that advocates for sober spaces that advocate for critical discussions on substance use.”