Eastern Michigan University podcast highlights alcohol abuse on college campuses

Lolita Cummings, Chrissie Zavicar, Brenna Breshears, and Melissa Thrasher seated around a table on the Enlighten U podcast set.
From left, Lolita Cummings, Chrissie Zavicar, Brenna Breshears, and Melissa Thrasher on the set of the "Enlighten U" video podcast.

YPSILANTI – According to a recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 7.3% of full-time college students ages 18–22 reported heavy alcohol use in the past month. Since mental health experts view alcoholism as a significant concern, Eastern Michigan University's November episode of "Enlighten U,” a podcast for students, focuses on this issue.

Throughout the episode, guests shared personal stories and explained how alcohol is oftentimes a part of a university’s culture. 

Chrissie Zavicar, a 2004 graduate, recalled her college years as a time dotted with alcohol and far too many regrets. Her drinking began as a sophomore in high school but escalated during her time at EMU. An unhealthy relationship with alcohol followed her for approximately 20 years.

Sober now for six years, Zavicar celebrates her story and describes it as empowering. She even helps others find their road to sobriety by sharing her story in “First and Sober,” a regular newsletter published on LinkedIn.

No “Enlighten U” episode is complete without a subject-matter professional, and this month the show welcomed Brenna Breshears, Ph.D. Breshears is an EMU assistant professor of Clinical Mental Health Counseling and a licensed professional counselor who specializes in substance abuse and addiction. While seated at the “Enlighten U” table, Breshears offered expert advice and resources every college student should hear. 

“Addressing alcoholism and the severity of its implications on mental health can help college students become more aware of the potential risks associated with excessive alcohol consumption,” said Melissa Thrasher, podcast co-host. “It’s critical that students know when and where to seek help when struggling with alcohol-related issues.”

Future episodes of “Enlighten U” will address financial strain, relationships, imposter syndrome, grading anxiety, adjustment to campus life, social media harms, social justice, and more.

For more information about “Enlighten U,” contact Lolita Cummings at lcummin2@emich.edu and Melissa Thrasher at mthrashe@emich.edu. Email messages with guest and topic suggestions can also be sent to Enlighten_U@emich.edu. “Enlighten U" is available on all major podcast streaming services and  EMU's YouTube Channel. The next episode will air Friday, Dec. 15. 

About Enlighten U
“Enlighten U” is an Eastern Michigan University-produced podcast for college students as they experience unique stressors, including academic pressures, personal growth, social challenges, and more. EMU executive director of media relations and social media Melissa Thrasher and EMU public relations professor Lolita Cummings serve as co-hosts. Each episode is released each month and welcomes a student or alum and a subject-matter professional. Episodes of “Enlighten U” address mental health topics like imposter syndrome, financial strain, grading anxiety, adjustment to campus life, social media harms, social justice, and more.

About Eastern Michigan University
Founded in 1849, Eastern is the second oldest public university in Michigan. It currently serves more than 14,000 students pursuing undergraduate, graduate, specialist, doctoral and certificate degrees in the arts, sciences and professions. In all, more than 300 majors, minors and concentrations are delivered through the University's Colleges of Arts and Sciences; Business; Education; Engineering and Technology; Health and Human Services; and its graduate school. National publications regularly recognize EMU for its excellence, diversity, and commitment to applied education. Visit the University’s rankings and points of pride websites to learn more. For more information about Eastern Michigan University, visit the University's website. To stay up to date on University news, activities and announcements, visit EMU Today

November 15, 2023

Written by:
Media Relations

Media Contact:
Melissa Thrasher