Hello International Oles!

Being in college is an amazing experience and we as ISCs are here to assist, advise, and guide you so you make the most of your experience as an Ole. In college, you have all the freedom, but I should add that freedom comes with responsibilities. In as much as you are away from the supervision of adults, you should always remember to be accountable to yourself and always be very conscious about how your decisions may affect your life at Olaf. In regards to drugs and alcohol; it’s important to be familiar with U.S. laws and regulations in order to ensure you are not breaking the law or endangering your visa status. Since you will enter as an international student, you will be responsible for learning, understanding, and complying with all U.S. federal and state laws and regulations. St Olaf has the following guidelines (please note that they might be different from your home country):


Alcohol policy in the U.S.:

  • You must be 21 years of age or above to possess or consume alcohol in the U.S.
  • It is illegal for anyone older to buy alcohol for minors (people under 21 years of age).
  • Bars, restaurants, and other places will ask you to show an ID* with your date of birth if you attempt to order alcohol.
  • It is illegal in the U.S. to drink alcohol in public (in parks, on streets, etc.)
  • Do NOT drive after drinking. This is strictly prohibited.
  • Consequences of disobeying these laws vary from a large fine to possible jail time and maybe more severe for non-U.S. citizens.

* We recommend making a Minnesota State ID, as carrying around your passport can be dangerous. 


Alcohol policy at St. Olaf
  • St. Olaf is a DRY campus, meaning, any consumption or possession of alcohol is prohibited on campus (in dorms, in common areas, public spaces, etc.), even if you are 21 or older.
  • There are 3 levels of violation of the alcohol policy with various consequences. Please see this page for more information on the Code of Conduct violations. 
  • In some more serious cases, international students can be suspended and sent home. Termination of your SEVIS record due to school suspension or other rule violations will have negative consequences on future immigrant/non-immigrant applications such as H1B, green cards, etc.
  • Another important thing to note is that even having an EMPTY alcohol bottle in your residence hall is considered a violation of the alcohol policy, so beware of how you decorate your room!       

For more information on St. Olaf’s alcohol policy, see the following page: http://wp.stolaf.edu/thebook/general/alcohol/


Alcohol Q&A:
  • “What if it is legal for me to drink in my home country? My passport allows me to drink anywhere, right?”

    Nope, sorry! In the U.S. the legal drinking age is 21, no matter what country you come from!
  • “I’m 21, so I can have drinks in my room, right?”Wrong again! St. Olaf is a dry campus so alcohol is NOT allowed anywhere on campus, even if you are of legal drinking age. 
  • “My roommate keeps alcohol in our room. Will I get in trouble?”

    Yes, even if it is not yours, everyone in the room could be subject to discipline. If your roommate has alcohol in your room, you can talk with your residence hall JC or RA. They can probably think of creative ways to talk to your roommate without jeopardizing your relationship.
  • “My friends are pressuring me to drink alcohol or do drugs, but I don’t want to get in trouble!”

    There are many ways to say “no” to your friends without sounding rude.
  1. “No thanks!”
  2. “I’d rather not”
  3. “I have to get up early tomorrow”
  4. “I’m good”
  5. If you are going to a party you can bring your own drink (juice, soda, etc.) so you can politely decline if you are offered alcohol.


  • “My friend/roommate is drinking a lot and might get hurt. What should I do?”

    Stopping a friend/roommate from causing themselves harm is called “bystander intervention”. If you think your friend/roommate is doing something wrong, you can try to help by distracting them from that action. Invite them to go do a different activity or share your concern for their well-being. Don’t think you have to do it yourself. You can always ask for help from other friends/roommates or residence hall staff.
  • “My friend/roommate and I drank too much and needs to go to the hospital. But I don’t want us to get in trouble!”

    Student health, especially your health should take first priority. If you are in an emergency, don’t worry about getting in trouble! Call public safety at x3666 (from your phone: 507-786-3666) or an ambulance at 9-1-1.
  • “I can’t stop drinking. How can I stop?”

    You can always visit the Wellness Center for getting advice on changing any part of your lifestyle.

    The Counseling Center is also available for a free consultation on learning more about alcohol addiction and how to stop drinking.


Smoking/Drug policy in the U.S.


  • Cigarettes (tobacco) are legal in the U.S., but you must be 18 years or older.
  • You will be asked for a photo I.D. that shows your date of birth when you attempt to purchase cigarettes.
  • The consumption of recreational drugs is prohibited in all states in the U.S. other than the use of marijuana in a select few states – Minnesota is not one of them.
  • It is strictly prohibited to drive under the influence of recreational drugs.
  • Consequences of disobeying these laws vary from a large fine to possible jail time and maybe more severe for non-U.S. citizens.


Smoking/Drug policy at St. Olaf


  • Cigarette smoking is allowed at the St. Olaf campus, but you must be at least 18 years of age and 10 feet (3.05 meters) from a building to smoke.
  • Ashtrays are provided outside of buildings on campus. People who smoke should dispose of their cigarette buds at these places.
  • For more information, we encourage students to view the St. Olaf page concerning smoking http://wp.stolaf.edu/thebook/general/smoking/
  • The consumption of recreational drugs is prohibited on the St. Olaf campus.
If you have any questions about the U.S. or St. Olaf policies regarding drugs and/or alcohol, please do not hesitate to ask. In addition, please visit the frequently asked questions of the St. Olaf policies and procedure page http://wp.stolaf.edu/isa/policies-and-procedures/.