Creative Inquiry

Project Spotlights

CU Water Drop

From attending house parties to frequenting the local bars, students at Clemson regularly engage in an age-old leisure activity for college students- drinking. And, as with many college campuses, alcohol abuse is a pervasive problem many faculty members and administrators hope to overcome. But at Clemson, students have also been making an effort to prevent alcohol abuse on and around campus. The CU Water Drop Creative Inquiry, led by faulty adviser Dr. Gail Disabatino, is a student-run Creative Inquiry that provides local parties and events with free water. Through offering easily accessible, clean water at such parties, the Creative Inquiry successfully promotes responsible drinking habits.

CU Water Drop began as a Creative Inquiry to address the problem of over-drinking. Students analyzed the amount of alcohol college students regularly consume and found the average number of drinks per student per party to be worrisome. "This amount is too high," student Alex Kan explains. "But we also know that we cannot eliminate over-drinking entirely, so we wanted to come up with ways to make college drinking safer and less of an issue." The CU Water Drop Creative Inquiry thus took the initiative to make drinking safer rather than attempting to eliminate college drinking entirely. The Creative Inquiry decided to set up a program where anonymous students can request cases of bottled water for parties. The Creative Inquiry then responds to these requests by dropping off the specified number of cases at a scheduled time prior to the beginning of the party. These bottled waters are placed in areas easily accessible to party attendees such as bathrooms and bar areas.

As CU Water Drop has expanded, students in the Creative Inquiry have considered various ways to reach out to Clemson's student body and increase awareness about the program. Student Lauren Snider explains, "one of the most difficult problems we have had to overcome as a Creative Inquiry has been spreading the word about this service we are offering. If more people knew how easy we make it to get free water, then I definitely think they would be interested in placing orders." But through marketing and word-of-mouth, the team has targeted and successfully reached an incredible number of students. Working with Greek life enabled CU Water Drop to develop relationships with many fraternities who now regularly place water orders before parties. And with the Creative Inquiry's success at these parties, word-of-mouth has promoted students throwing house parties to contact CU Water Drop and request water deliveries.

Though CU Water Drop has already made an incredible impact on Clemson's campus through dramatically increasing alcohol safety at local parties, the Creative Inquiry also has big goals for the future. Student Chelsea Glynn says, "Eventually our ultimate goal is to change the social norm. We want people to go to parties and expect and plan to drink water alongside drinking alcohol." With such a change, CU Water Drop hopes to continue cutting down on alcohol abuse at universities.

By: Katie Ott (Decipher Issue 2, Fall 2013)