Nondrinkers on Campus

Over the fall semester in my journalism class at UW-Madison, I was able to explore a topic I have always been incredibly passionate about: the choice to  drink and what it is like to be a non-drinker at a school that celebrates alcohol culture.

We were allowed to choose any topic that was in some way connected to UW-Madison and investigate and learn more about. And for me, this topic was a no-brainer. While I spent many long hours working on this project, interviewing people, writing stories and working with different storytelling mediums, I ultimately produced a final website that I am incredibly proud of that encapsulates my entire project.

As a nondrinker myself, I don’t know many other people that choose not to drink at UW-Madison as well. This project pushed me to reach out to others that I didn’t know beforehand who also don’t drink. Learning about why they each made the decision not to drink was very eye-opening, as each person had their own reasons as to why they don’t drink. I had amazing conversations with each individual featured on my website and really do not feel that I had enough space to tell their stories. This was one project where I really hated having word limits as not only could those who I interviewed talk about this subject forever, but so can I.

I have always felt that many stories written about UW-Madison’s drinking culture focus on those who choose to drink and UW’s draw as the top party school in the country (thank you Princeton Review), and seem to leave out another population of students: those who choose not to drink.

Last semester, I ran across two articles also written by students attending UW-Madison who wrote about being non-drinking students at Wisconsin. I loved both pieces written by Jonah Beleckis and Jenny Recktenwald and was able to talk with both of them for my story. I encourage you to read both of their great columns here:

Jonah Beleckis: Letter to the editor: UW-Madison’s alcohol culture alienates non-drinkers

Jenny Recktenwald: Believe it or not, I don’t need alcohol to have fun

I really hope you take the time to look through my website and hear more about their stories, as well as the other individuals’ incredible stories that I was able to learn more about, as this is something that I’m really proud of and invested a lot of time in this past semester. I love talking about this topic (as you will probably see) so feel free to reach out to me if you want to talk further about it!

You can find my website at