Students at Colby College in Maine can sit down most Friday nights and sample two beverages found in few college dining halls: beer and wine.
The program started in the fall, initiated by the Student Government Association. It’s intended to teach students to drink in moderation while showing an alternative to the binge drinking that is common on college campuses. On three Friday nights during the fall semester, alcohol was available with dinner for students 21 and older. They pay $1 per drink and are limited to two.
It’s been such a success that college administrators have decided to expand it to most Friday nights during the spring semester.
“I think people have appreciated it because it’s a good way to show that alcohol can be handled in a good and responsible manner,” said Janice Kassman, the school’s dean of students. “We’ve had only good comments.”
Colby officials say they hope their program will help change the culture around alcohol. “The purpose is education,” said Varun Avashthi, the college’s director of dining services. “The whole point is that the students recognize that you don’t have to binge-drink or abstain. There is middle ground.”
Colby attempts to make the experience informative. An expert on wine and beer sometimes lectures as the students drink. At the first session, Rob Tod of Allagash Brewing in Portland came to explain how beer is made.
“The students like it,” Avashthi said. “They enjoy every aspect of it.”