parent and student hugging at commencementWe believe parents are essential partners in our efforts to help students make healthy decisions. The more you know about the issues surrounding alcohol and other drugs, and the more you talk about them with your son or daughter, the more effective our partnership will be.

Parents often ask if the University will contact them if their son or daughter is involved in a disciplinary matter related to alcohol or other drugs. In most cases, we ask the student to talk to his or her parents first, and we request that parents call us to confirm this conversation. In more serious disciplinary situations, we will contact parents directly.

Here are several helpful resources for parents.

Get Involved

It is important to stay informed about issues involving alcohol and other drugs, and keep an open dialogue with your college student. Even though your son or daughter is now in college, you can still be highly influential in the choices he or she makes. If you have questions, please contact us.

Suggestions on how to stay involved:

Talk openly with your student. Initiating a conversation communicates caring, availability and support. Discuss risks, safety, family values and expectations. Allow your student to talk about any concerns he or she may have.

If your student is an incoming freshman or transfer student, remind him or her to complete AlcoholEdu® for College. AlcoholEdu for College is an online prevention program that focuses on the impact of alcohol on the mind and body. It is required for all freshman and transfer students. AlcoholEdu for College will empower your student to make well-informed decisions and better cope with the drinking behavior of peers.

Take the AlcoholEdu® for Parents course. AlcoholEdu for Parents is an online program designed to help you initiate a conversation on alcohol and other drugs with your son or daughter. It also allows you to explore the AlcoholEdu for College course, which is required for all freshman and transfer students.

Review the campus policies on alcohol and other drugs with your student. We expect Northwestern students to abide by state and local laws and campus policies. We will hold them accountable for their actions.

Encourage your son or daughter to follow the Responsible Action Protocol (RAP). RAP states that all Northwestern students are expected to get help in an emergency situation involving alcohol or other drugs. To learn how to recognize and appropriately respond to these situations, students can participate in the Red Watch Band program on campus.

Promote involvement in clubs, service and recreational activities. Campus involvement creates opportunities to meet people and have fun without focusing on alcohol or other drugs.

Encourage your student to explore his or her own alcohol or other drug use. Brief Alcohol/drug Screening and Intervention for College Students (BASICS) is a personal "check-up" that provides an opportunity to explore drinking and other drug use in a confidential and non-judgmental environment. A trained professional will provide feedback and explore ways to reduce risks.