Dante Robinson
HON 211
Persuasive Speech Outline
A. Introduction
1. Attention Getter: "We can do anything we want. We're college students!"
Sound familiar? This is the tagline of the classic college comedy Animal
House. This hilarious film follows the Delta Tau Chi fraternity as they try
to avoid being expelled for their wild, dangerous, alcohol-fueled
2. Transition to Persuasive Claim: While the film is undeniably funny, it is
a bit disturbing that this tagline is the mentality of many college students
today. Many students are under the impression that they are invincible,
particularly when it comes to alcohol consumption.
3. Persuasive Claim: Excessive binge drinking, and what I will refer to as
High-risk drinking, is a dangerous trend that must be ended or, at the
very least moderated.
4. Significance: In a survey conducted by Alcohol 101+, an organization
funded by actual alcohol distillers, 84% of students admitted to having
drank alcohol in the past year. 72% of students admitted to having used
alcohol at least once in the prior 30 days.
5. Relevance: According to this statistic, around 7 out of every ten students
in this room have drank alcohol in the past month.
6. Actuative: Ideally, considering the illegality of underage drinking, the
best solution to this would be to put an end to college drinking. Since this
approaches impossibility, students should opt to indulge, at most, in what
is called low-risk drinking.
7. Preview: First, we will define high-risking drinking and its nature. Then
we’ll discuss some of the causes of this issue. Finally, we’ll talk about
some ways we can work to moderate high-risk drinking.
8. Transition: When Bluto yells, “Grab a brew. Don’t cost nothin’!” the boys’
excessive drinking might be costing them a bit more than they know.
B. Body
1. Develop Problem
a. So what is happening? What is high-risk drinking? Notre Dame’s
Office of Alcohol and Drug Education defines high-risk drinking
as engaging in the behaviors that lead to high levels of intoxication
that can cause harm to oneself and others. These behaviors are
categorized mostly by how often a student drinks, how much they
drink, the period of time over which they drink. Many students
drink twice a weekend, every weekend.
b. Enoch Gordis, previous director of The National Institute on
Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), put out an article in April
2011 called, “A Call to Action: Changing the Culture of Drinking
at U.S. Colleges,” which made many conclusive observations on
college drinking.
c. I will be referencing this article and its statistics on the effects of
college high-risk drinking. There are many, but we will examine
three more closely.
i. Grades
ii. Health/Danger
iii. Alcoholism
d. High-risk drinking is directly related to academic problems.
i. The NIAAA study recorded that about 25 percent of college
students report academic consequences of their drinking
including missing class, doing poorly on exams or papers,
and receiving lower grades overall.
ii. One out of every four students is accrediting their academic
difficulties to alcohol consumption
High-risk drinking = danger. It’s as simple as that. There are
plenty of statistics proving that alcohol abuse is hazardous.
i. 1,400 college students between the ages of 18 and 24 die
each year from alcohol-related accidents, including motor
vehicle crashes.
ii. More than 600,000 students between the ages of 18 and 24
are assaulted by another student who has been drinking.
iii. More than 150,000 students develop an alcohol-related
health problem and between 1.2 and 1.5 percent of
students indicate that they tried to commit suicide within
the past year due to drinking.
iv. Ladies and gentleman, these statistics could speak for
themselves, but I’ll speak for them anyway. All these
horrific statistics are directly related to people drinking
irresponsibly. The numbers don’t lie.
Then, of course, high-risk drinking in college leads to a greater
chance of alcoholism.
i. 31% of college students met criteria for a diagnosis of
alcohol abuse and 6% for a diagnosis of alcohol dependence
in the 12 months prior to completing questionnaire-based
self-reports about their drinking.
g. Let’s revisit our friends of Delta Tau Chi Fraternity. While it’s all
fun and games to laugh at their adventures, there are some
disturbing numbers that remind us to separate this fiction from
our reality. Now that we know what is happening, let’s take a look
at why.
2. Cause of Problem
1. The NIAAA’s article acknowledges college drinking as a “culture.” As
with any culture, there are misconceptions.
a. The article states, “Students derive their expectations of alcohol
from their environment and from each other, as they face the
insecurity of establishing themselves in a new social milieu.
Environmental and peer influences combine to create a culture of
drinking. This culture actively promotes drinking, or passively
promotes it, through tolerance, or even tacit approval, of college
drinking as a rite of passage.”
b. There are many ways to engage yourself on a college campus
without using alcohol. However, there are stigmas that say if you
don’t drink, you aren’t cool. When students believe these stigmas,
it gives them more power. Philip Ehret and Joseph LaBrie confirm
in an article of Addictive Behaviors in April 2012, that even
students who are aware that drinking isn’t necessary to be social
do it anyway because it is easiest and most rewarding.
2. Unfortunately, this culture is endorsed, even promoted by what you
might call “major players” of the collegiate society. Many schools’
athletic teams or Greek life inhabit the houses where most of these
parties are thrown.
a. To revisit the Alcohol 101+ survey, the same article recorded the
following results:
i. Student athletes are more often the heaviest drinkers in the
overall student population. Half of college athletes (57
percent of men and 48 percent of women) binge drink and
experience a greater number of alcohol-related harms than
other students. College athletes are also more likely than
other students to say that getting drunk is an important
reason for drinking
ii. An overwhelming majority of college students feel drinking
is a central part of the social life of both fraternities and
sororities (79 percent and 72 percent, respectively.)
Specifically, 88% of fraternities and 78% sororities feel
drinking is a central part of the Greek social life.
b. Athletics and Greek life are two of the largest categories of
extracurricular programs on campus. It is difficult for students to
avoid drinking, especially in high-risk environments.
c. The prevalence of drinking as a culture, rather than simply an
activity makes it a very difficult thing to control. However, the
difficulty of the task should not discourage us from enacting a
change. High-risk drinking is still so prevalent today because
people who are against it find the task too mammoth. But if we
continue to spread awareness and the means to encourage lowrisk drinking and abstinence from alcohol unremittingly, then
alcohol abuse is something that we can beat.
3. Solution
a. The ultimate solution is to encourage students to engage in more
low-risk drinking than high-risk drinking.
i. Men should limit their alcohol consumption to 3-4 drinks at
most, over a span of 3-4 hours.
ii. Women should have 2-3 drinks over the span of 3-4 hours
iii. Students should limit drinking to once every 3-4 weeks
iv. Try to avoid situations that are likely to be dangerous
b. Again, the ideal outcome would be to rule out underage drinking,
but it’s an unrealistic goal. But here are the ways that you as
students can help to fight against high-risk drinking
i. It starts with the individual being aware and addressing the
1. If everyone took a moment to ignore what others
thought, the myth would, step by step be broken
down, and people wouldn’t be so convinced that to
be social, you have to binge drink.
ii. If students who know better, and are binge-drinking
anyway, were to weigh the pros against cons, or at least
have a sense of control over this social tool, it would be a
iii. Lastly, all these things of course seem difficult when the
most “popular” people are the leading influence.
1. Just be yourself. And if you’re a part of this group,
again, weigh the pros against con.
iv. Many people in this room can fall under any of these
categories. If you’re not, that’s fantastic. If you are, then
these are some things you should really take into
consideration. Either way, everybody can spread the word.
Talk to your friends about being responsible. Only the
students who fall victim to this culture have the power to
change it.
c. While the Delta Tau Chi boys have earned our favor, and we’re
watching, hoping that Dean Wormer doesn’t expel them, I think it’s
safe to say that maybe they’re in the wrong. Maybe they’re
promoting a dangerous culture that must meet its end.
C. Persuasive Conclusion
1. Summary
a. Students around the country are drinking dangerous amounts of
alcohol every weekend, amounts that can be extremely harmful
both short-term and long term.
b. This is condoned because high-risk drinking has become a culture,
misconceived by incoming students and promoted by major
societies on campus.
c. However, it is not unbeatable. If you, as students, begin by
moderating your own drinking habits, and spreading the word,
drinking can be reduced and maybe even stopped.
2. Visualize Benefits:
a. I know that you’ve all received the copious security alerts of an
attack, or incident that happened the previous weekend. The
statistics we’ve discussed today suggest the likelihood that these
incidents were alcohol-fueled, whether the attacker was under the
influence, or the victim was vulnerable because of alcohol use.
Imagine a campus where we can walk at night safely, without
3. As a matter of fact, don’t imagine it. Make it happen. I challenge you to
become part of a movement that can put an end to high-risk drinking on
college campuses. At least our very own West Chester campus. Spread the
word, and let’s make our community safer.
4. “The time has come for someone to put his foot down. And that foot is
me.” While Dean Wormer may not be the most lovable guy, or eloquent,
he’s got the right idea. We all need to start putting a foot down.
Works Cited
“Alcohol and College Students Drinking Fact Sheet.” Alcohol 101+. The Century
Council. Web. April 24, 2012
Animal House. Dir. John Landis. Universal Pictures. 1979
“Educate Yourself: Alcohol.” Office of Alcohol and Drug Education. Notre Dame
University. Web. April 24, 2012
Gordis, Enoch. “A Call to Action: Changing the Culture of Drinking at U.S. Colleges.”
National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. April 2011. April
24, 2012.
LaBrie, Joseph W., Ehret, Phillip J. “Poor adjustment to college life mediates the
relationship between drinking motives and alcohol consequences: A
look at college adjustment, drinking motives, and drinking
outcomes. Addictive Behaviors Vol. 37. Issue 4 (Apr 2012): p379-386.