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Talk about a Celebration!

A 21st birthday should be fun and safe – even if it includes alcohol.

High-risk and competitive drinking often happens on college campuses in this country with so many students turning 21.

As parents and family members you’ve engaged your student in conversations reinforcing your family values and expectations concerning their health and well-being. Their 21st birthday is an excellent opportunity to continue this dialogue to reinforce your expectations about their health, well-being, and academic success. 

Your student’s birthday plans may not include alcohol at all. But if you think they might, we have some tips to help you talk to your child about reducing their risk. This isn’t about lectures and scare tactics. It’s about informing and encouraging them to consider protective strategies like these:

  • Plan a safe way home before going to a party and beginning to drink.
  • Eat a full meal before going out. 
  • Aim for one drink per house; alternate between water and alcoholic beverages.
  • Designate a sober friend to help keep everyone safe and intervene if necessary.
  • Call 911 if someone needs help; calling for help may save someone's life.

Send a birthday card to your student reminding them to have a fun and safe 21st birthday!

The birthday card includes messages about protective strategies should they choose to celebrate with alcohol, a coupon for a free drink at a local coffee shop, and an opportunity for you to include a personalized message.

Please submit the form below at least 2 weeks prior to your student’s birthday so we can ensure it gets to them in time!

Penn State Student Affairs
Penn State Parents Program