Since these changes were introduced in 1995, the school has seen a 15 percent drop in binge drinking and is attracting students with higher grades and SAT scores.
"We were drawing a student body whose center of their social life was alcohol and the abuse of alcohol, " Carothers said. "We had high absentee rates, we had low retention rates, we had a whole variety of problems that were associated with the abuse of alcohol."
Lauren Boulanger, a junior, says the get tough-policy on alcohol makes students think twice about binge drinking. "It gives you an idea of what the effects really are.
Still, it is hard to change heavy drinking habits.
Mark Jacobs, a senior at URI, said he and his roommates go through a few kegs every week. "I say Wednesday through Saturday the idea is to get as drunk as you can. Monday, Tuesday, Sunday, just relax and have a couple of beers."
Researchers say binge drinking has grown on campus because colleges were so focused on drug abuse that they ignored the more widespread problem of alcohol. Today's report, with its research-based recommendations, urges schools to be aggressive and persistent in combating a problem that is cutting young lives short.