By the end of last year, University Health Services (UHS) was starting to look more like an after-bar than a hospital on Friday and Saturday nights, with dangerously drunken students pouring in at a record pace. Some were passed out, some had alcohol poisoning, and some just wanted a place to crash. The University was getting worried—were students drinking more? Had reckless binging become cool? Why had there been an upswing in undergraduate alcohol-related admissions at UHS from 1998 to 2004? Nobody in University Hall seemed to know.
Enter Ryan M. Travia, an expert on student drinking, who honed his craft at Boston College’s Office of Drug Education and has been the coordinator at Dartmouth’s Alcohol and Drug Education Program for the last two years. He relocated to Boston this past summer and in August took up the Alcohol and Substance Abuse Services director’s chair, a position created this year.