Click here to return to the HWS home page. 
 Alcohol Education Project

Social Norms Initiatives

Social Norm Surveys Online

Youth Health & Safety Project

Social Norms National Research and Resources

Social Norms 101 Primer

Other Quick Links

Consultation/Dissemination for Higher Education

Secondary Education Initiatives & Support

Campaign to Reduce Misperceived Norms

Project Impact -- Success Data!

MVP Athlete Project

Curriculum Development

BIDS 295 Alcohol Use and Abuse

Upcoming/Previous Presentations

Press Releases

In the News

Research Publications

Online Resources


The Alcohol Education Project of Hobart and William Smith Colleges is a broad collection of education and research initiatives. Its purpose is to better inform students, faculty and staff in higher education and secondary school settings nationwide about alcohol and other drugs and related social norms and address problems of abuse.

U.S. Dept. of Education publication highlights Alcohol Education Project (HWS press release, full publication)

Highlighted Publications

"The Social Norms Approach: Confronting the 'reign of error' as a successful strategy to reduce harmful drinking and drug abuse in college." in D. Anderson and T. Hall (eds) Leading Campus Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention: Grounded Approaches for Student Impact, Pp. 159-162 & 416-424, 2021 by H. Wesley Perkins and Jessica M. Perkins.

"Adolescent Tobacco Use and Misperceptions of Social Norms Across Schools in the United States." Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 80(6), 659-668, 2019 by Jessica M. Perkins, H. Wesley Perkins, Jordan Jurinsky, and David w. Craig. (abstract)

"Accuracy of Estimated Blood Alcohol Concentration Norms From College Student Drinking Survey Data: Verification Using Matched Late-Night Breath Measurements."' Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 79(3), 455-464, 2018 by David W. Craig and H. Wesley Perkins. (abstract)

"Using the Social Norms Approach to Promote Health and Reduce Risk among College Students." Ch. 8 by H. Wesley Perkins and Jessica M. Perkins in Promoting Behavioral Health and Reducing Risk among College Students: A Comprehensive Approach, Cemini, D. and Rivero, D. (editors New York, NY: Routledge 2018. (order at Routledge, abstract)

"Misperception is Reality: The 'Reign of Error' About Peer Risk Behaviour Norms Among Youth and Young Adults." by H. Wesley Perkins in The Complexity of Social Norms, Xenitidou, M. and B. Edmonds. (editors). (order at Springer books, abstract)

"Student-Athletes' Misperceptions of Male and Female Peer Drinking Norms: A Multi-Site Investigation of the 'Reign of Error."' Journal of College Student Development, 53, 367-382, 2012 by Perkins, H. Wesley and David W. Craig. (abstract)

"Effectiveness of Social Norms Media Marketing in Reducing Drinking and Driving: A Statewide Campaign" Addictive Behaviors, 35, 866-874, 2010 by Perkins, H. Wesley, Jeff Linkenbach, Melissa Lewis, and Clayton Neighbors. (publication)

"Learning about Student Alcohol Abuse and Helping to Prevent It through Service Learning Initiatives: The HWS Alcohol Education Project" by David W. Craig and H. Wesley Perkins in Service Learning and the Liberal Arts: How and Why it Works, Craig A. Rimmerman (editor). (order at Lexington Books, full publication)

HWS Alcohol Education Project programs cited in new U. S. Department of Education publication, Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention on College Campuses: Model Programs. (press release, full publication)

"Misperceptions of Peer Drinking Norms in Canada: Another Look at the 'Reign of Error' and Its Consequences among College Students." Addictive Behaviors, 32, 2645-2656, 2007, by H. Wesley Perkins. (press release, full article)

Click here to see the contents of the  article "A Successful Social Norms Campaign to Reduce Alcohol Misuse among College Student-Athletes," Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 67, 880-888, 2006, by H. Wesley Perkins and David W. Craig. (press release, full article)

Click here to see the contents of the article"Misperceiving the College Drinking Norm and Related Problems: A Nationwide Study of Exposure to Prevention Information, Perceived Norms and Student Alcohol Misuse," Journal of Studies on Alcohol, 66, 470-478, 2005 by Perkins, H. Wesley, Michael Haines and Richard Rice. (press release, full article)

Click here to see the contents of the bookBook Available
The Social Norms Approach
to Preventing School and College Age Substance Abuse
A handbook for educators, counselors, and clinicians

Go to: Social Norms Case StudySocial Norms Case Study Released
The Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention released a new publication by H. Wesley Perkins, and David W. Craig, titled "A Multifaceted Social Norms Approach to Reduce High-Risk Drinking: Lessons from Hobart and William Smith Colleges." This work provides a detailed example of coordinated social norms strategies producing positive results confirmed with extensive evaluation measures. (press release)

American Sociological Association Publication highlights social norms work to curb high-risk drinking. (article)


Project Directors  
H. Wesley Perkins, Ph.D.
Dept. of Sociology
Phone: (315) 781-3437
H. Wesley Perkins
David W. Craig, Ph.D.
Professor of Chemistry Emeritus
David W. Craig

Project Personnel

History of Project

Project Impact
& Outcomes







Youtube Interview on Social Norms Approach


(To view on YouTube, click on the picture. To download, click WMV VIDEO or MOV VIDEO.)

Click here to read the article on

HWS Alcohol Education Project in the news
This link provides a list of mass media references related to Project initiatives. Some of the news reports listed here reflect interviews and quotes from the Project Directors and other reports cite Hobart and William Smith Colleges' educational activities about alcohol abuse and prevention campaign results in the context of larger regional or national assessments.Click here for the full story on




Multi-State Results from an Online Tool for Assessing Secondary School Norms just released!
More than 52,000 secondary students from 78 middle and high schools in eleven regionally diverse states have been surveyed using an online instrument.
Results were presented at the 2008 National Social Norms Conference in San Francisco, CA. (click here for presentation abstract and results).
A more detailed analysis on a subset of this data is available here.

Scottish Parliament Debates Social Norms for Alcohol and Tobacco Consumption. See press release and full transcript.

Project Initiatives

  • U.S. Air Force Social Norms Project
    This project saught to develop, implement, and assess a social norms approach to alcohol abuse prevention among Airmen age 18-24 in the U. S. Air Force stationed at selected bases in the U.S. and internationally.

  • Project Consultation and Dissemination Services for Higher Education
    Unleash the Power of Peers, Teachers, and Technology -- The project directors provide leadership in alcohol and other drug prevention nationally through research publications, conference presentations and workshops, and focused institutional consulting.

  • Secondary Education Initiatives and Support
    The approach for schools supported by this project employs a comprehensive print and electronic social norms marketing campaign to reduce harmful misperceptions about student alcohol, tobacco, other drug, health, and school safety norms. Program components include (1) a new inexpensive and efficient web-based strategy for determining local norms and perceptions, (2) a print media campaign to communicate the local norms, (3) new electronic media to expand and enhance student exposure and engagement, and (4) curriculum development to infuse conversations about these issues into the classroom. This project provides leadership in alcohol and other drug prevention nationally through research publications, conference presentations and workshops, focused school consulting and training, and through development of electronic tools for social norms delivery.

  • Social Norms Surveys Online
  • Campaign to Reduce Misperceptions
    This initiative includes print and electronic media and co-curricular activities that have been specifically designed to reduce misperceptions of student norms and thereby reduce levels of alcohol and other drug use and the resulting consequences. Examples of products produced are displayed here.

  • Most Valuable Players (MVP) Athlete Project
    A project reinforcing positive norms, correcting misperceptions, and reducing high risk drinking among student-athletes.

  • Curriculum Development
    This initiative includes the development of a model for expanding AOD issues in the curriculum for colleges and universities, development of an extensive interdisciplinary model course on alcohol, a faculty workshop for AOD curriculum infusion in other courses, and training for student teachers and secondary teachers.

  • Upcoming/Previous National and Regional Presentations

  • Grants and Awards
    This link lists grants and awards received by the Project.

  • Bibliography of Faculty Publications
    This link lists publications on alcohol on the college campus conducted by Hobart and William Smith Colleges' faculty. The basic social science research that forms the theoretical foundation for the Social Norms approach to prevention is documented here.

  • Alcohol Use and Abuse: Causes and Consequences
    Bidisciplinary Course (sociology/biochemistry)
    This model course was designed to illustrate how the formal curriculum can be linked to the development and implementation of a comprehensive campus-wide alcohol prevention program.

  • Research and Teaching Resources
    This link lists both on-campus and off-campus resources for alcohol and other drug information. Library resources and web links to important information sites are included in these pages.

  • Press Releases
    This link lists press releases from the Alcohol Education Project and Youth Health Safety Project.

Related Initiatives

  • Social Norms National Research and Resources
    This site is a compilation of research and resources to support the application of the social norms approach to health and safety promotion in a variety of settings including secondary schools, high school, higher education, community, and statewide.

  • Youth Health & Safety Project
    This program expands the application of social norms to a broad range of middle and high school behavioral issues including: 1) bullying, peer harassment, and weapons carrying, 2) body image, 3) sexual activity, 4) traffic safety, 5) tobacco use, and 6) alcohol and other drug use.

  • HWS BAC Research Program
    This research program, directed by Professor David W. Craig, has been designed to assess the blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of students returning home to residence halls late at night. Over 2,700 students have been randomly selected to participate. Sample results from this project can be seen at this link.

  • Post-Collegiate Life Survey Project
    The Post-Collegiate Life Project began in 1987 with a survey of graduates from three Hobart & William Smith Colleges (HWS) class cohorts (classes of 1979, 1982, and 1985). The survey asked questions about their post-collegiate lives in terms of friendship and family transitions, careers and post-graduate education, and health and well-being. This research has subsequently become the longest running study of post-college life in higher education involving remarkable response rates from entire graduating classes. The Project has expanded over the years and currently includes graduates of eleven class cohorts ranging from the Class of 1979 to the Class of 2010 with surveys launched in 1987, 1991, 1996, 1999, 2003, 2007, and 2011. Special topics of research in these data have included issues of stress and careers, gender roles and parenting, alcohol use and abuse, shifting life goals and values, experiences of forgiveness in the life course, and retrospective assessments of undergraduate academic preparation for careers and life experience in a global context. The Project is directed by H. Wesley Perkins, Professor of Sociology at HWS.