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Keep Houston Press Free
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UH To Students: Your Classmates Are Not Drunk

The University of Houston has joined four other colleges in the nation that are getting paid to keep students from drinking too much. For its alcohol-prevention program, the university gets $124,000 of federal money from the always-fun Office of Safe and Drug-Free Schools.

The money is a reward for two years of research by a group from the university's Wellness Department and its prevention program directed at high risk students: greeks, athletes and freshmen. The goal is convincing students that their friends aren't drinking as much as they think.

According to the program's director, Gail Gillan, researchers found that 80 percent of students think that other students consume eight drinks a week, but drink less than two themselves. From those figures, I conclude that the University of Houston is boring, but researchers conclude that it is peer pressure that makes you drink.

So students then go through a one-time class that reveals that most students are not drinking, and students are offered prevention tips, such as making academics a priority, choosing friends who don't drink, and eating before a night of boozing.

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"We want to reach more students on campus," Gillan tells Hair Balls. "That's having a real impact on what you want to have an impact on."

Gillian says the $124,000 will be used to hire a full-time staffer, with a goal of reaching every greek and student that lives on campus.

-- Paul Knight

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