Date of Award

Spring 2020

Degree Type


Director of Thesis

Rhonda DiNovo

Second Reader

Carli Mercer


This thesis project served to develop harm-reduction strategies for the Panhellenic sorority community at the University of South Carolina and evaluate their effectiveness. These initiatives began with a focus on the 1,445 new members that accepted sorority bids in August 2019 and expanded to include initiated members, resulting in 4,414 total members being included in this project. Multiple strategies were implemented, including new member surveys, peer-led discussions, mentor education, alternative sober events, online risk assessments, and harm reduction interventions before high-risk events. While new members displayed increased drinking frequency and consumption amounts throughout the duration of their sorority membership, they had a decreased perception of drinking being associated with their sorority experience. Members were most receptive to initiatives that included peer-to-peer conversations and personal benefit as opposed to institutionally mandated education and prevention. From the results of this project, several initiatives were recommended to be continued by the College Panhellenic Association for the following academic year. Additionally, further investigation regarding whether increased drinking patterns among new members can be attributed to their new college environment versus their sorority membership should be conducted.

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