Healthy Choices and Community Impacts of Alcohol

Dear Badgers,

On behalf of the Division of University Housing, I want to welcome you to residence hall living. Whether you are new or returning to University Housing, we thank you for choosing to live on campus, and we are busy preparing for the fall semester.

As students come to campus, an ongoing challenge is the combination of newfound student independence and decisions around alcohol and other drugs. On this topic, the research is clear; students who use alcohol and other drugs affect their own mental and physical health and contribute to behavior that disregards the safety and well-being of others.

We know that two-thirds of our students are low-risk drinkers, non-drinkers, or students in recovery. Please know that if you don’t drink, you are not alone, and we support you. University Housing hosts residence hall-wide alcohol-free events every weekend of the academic year, and we promote other alcohol-free opportunities available on campus and in Madison. Last year, UW-Madison established Badger Recovery, a program for students in recovery from substance misuse, which offers peer-to-peer meetings, substance-free events, and connections with staff experts.

Please have conversations with your friends and roommates regarding alcohol use in college. Talk about risky behavior, including the definition of “risky,” and what to do if another student drinks too much. Remember that nothing is more important than getting help for anyone who needs it. This may not be an easy conversation to have, but it is one that will bring wide, immediate impact to our community.

Our Residence Life team will explain the alcohol policies to you soon after move-in. We expect you to adhere to all Housing and University policies and expectations.

University Housing will enforce policies, provide educational opportunities for you to learn about the effects of alcohol, and encourage students to make wise choices that ensure their safety and the safety of others. Students documented violating campus or Housing alcohol policies will meet with Housing staff and are held responsible for their behavior. This usually includes an alcohol educational class that costs the student up to $200. The UW-Madison Police Department has a regular presence in residence halls and will also address student behaviors. An underage alcohol possession citation is $263.50, and possession of a fake ID is a $512.00 citation.

When applicable, UWPD will assess an intoxicated student’s ability to care for themselves. If deemed incapacitated, students are transported to the Dane County Detoxification Facility-at full cost to the student-in addition to citations and campus sanctions.

If you have questions about our expectations and community standards, please contact Erin Strange, Assistant Director of Residence Life, at or 262-9049.

University Housing remains committed to working with you to create communities of care where everyone is equipped to succeed. Whether you choose to drink alcohol or not during your collegiate experience, we need involvement from students, families, and Housing staff to support student success. Nothing is more important than getting help for a student in need.

Thank you for joining us in this effort and being a part of our community who cares about the lives of each other.

On, Wisconsin!

Jeff Novak
Director, University Housing
University of Wisconsin-Madison