Liquor Control Board works to combat underage drinking

Published: Sep 03 2013 05:33:29 PM EDT   Updated On: Sep 04 2013 12:26:42 AM EDT

Binge drinking is a growing problem on college campuses in Pennsylvania. Now the Liquor Control Board is taking action. It is giving more than $2.1 million in grants to dozens of colleges and police departments to crackdown on underage drinking. Penn State Berks is just one of the many colleges receiving that funding. The main approach colleges are taking is to not just have more police enforcement, but to involve the students in the prevention efforts.

"You are away from home, it is that freedom aspect in that everyone is doing it so it is just something that you can go and socialize and get away from your school work," said Kutztown University sophomore Kayla Mellinger.

Students at Kutztown University say there is a huge temptation to binge drink on college campuses. For boroughs like Kutztown, in which college students make up the majority of the population, the problem can seem overwhelming.

"Last year, move in weekend was a pretty busy weekend for us. We saw a lot of underage, open containers, a lot of alcohol drinking going on," said Kutztown Mayor Sandra Green.

That is why college towns and universities are rejoicing at the thought of getting grants to help reduce underage drinking.

"I have seen it around campus and I really like that we are going to do programs to help keep people safe," said Mellinger.

The grants from the Liquor Control Board are meant to both educate students and to increase police enforcement.

"We want students and young people to get the message that alcohol must be used responsibly and that drinking to excess is a risk to their own personal safety as well as others," said PA Senator Judy Schwank, (D) Berks County.

Schools are hoping their own students can help drive home the message to their peers that underage drinking and binge drinking can be dangerous.

"It causes a big impact on everybody. It does not work out and it hurts family and friends and everybody. You never really realize anything until it is too late," said Kutztown University sophomore Madeline Dworak.

Kutztown University and Kutztown Borough, Albright College, Penn State-Berks and Wyomissing Police will receive a total of $150,000 in grants over a two year period.