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Early this week, the Princeton Review will release rankings of the nation’s colleges and universities. The college guide –which is not affiliated in any way with Princeton University — will again include among its rankings the nation’s “top party schools,” and it’s possible that the University of Colorado Boulder will be among them.

The Princeton Review’s rankings are not scientific surveys, they sample a tiny group– often fewer than 300 students among 30,000 at CU-Boulder — on their perceptions about their classmates’ alcohol and drug use.

And perceptions can be deceiving.

At CU-Boulder, we are engaged in comprehensive efforts to reach students individually, while also addressing alcohol and drug issues as a collective community health problem.

The university communicates to students on alcohol issues beginning with their acceptance to the university, and we require all new students to take an online alcohol education course, “Alcohol-Wise,” before enrolling in the fall.

We are reaching out to CU parents on alcohol and drug issues with a brochure that helps them talk to their young person about alcohol and drug use before they arrive at CU-Boulder, and we reconnect with them during orientation.

We are continuing this year with our party registration program that, in its inaugural year last year, resulted in only two out of 180 parties receiving a nuisance party ticket.

We will continue vigorous enforcement of alcohol and drug rules on campus and in our residence halls. These efforts have shown results. Contacts with students for alcohol violations have declined from 3,134 in 2007-08 to a little more than 2,600 last year — a decline of 17 percent in four years, according to our Office of Student Conduct.

In addition to these measures, we have increased alcohol and drug-free social opportunities on campus, added counseling resources, created all new academic offerings in campus residential communities, strengthened our overall academic rigor, and profoundly increased volunteer and service-learning opportunities for our students — so much so that we were recognized by the White House in 2008 for being the top public university for community service.

Additionally, the administration and the CU Student Government executives are working partners in ending the 4/20 smoke-out on campus — an unwanted gathering that tarnishes CU’s reputation and devalues the degrees of its students.

This, then, is our reality. We own our alcohol and drug issues, we take them seriously, and we are pledged to reduce them.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reported the state of Colorado as being among the top 10 states for the highest rates of marijuana use, and well above the national average for cocaine use, alcohol consumption and binge drinking.

Philip P. DiStefano is the chancellor at the University of Colorado Boulder. Carly Robinson, Andrew Yoder and Brooks Kanski are the elected student executives of the University of Colorado Student Government (CUSG).

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