Objective In this qualitative study, the authors examined how students attempt to minimize harm to themselves and others when drinking. Participants The authors recruited freshmen at a large, mid-Atlantic US public university during the fall semester of 2005 to participate in 8 focus groups. Methods The moderator’s guide was developed through an iterative process that included input from experts and pilot testing. The researchers audiotaped focus group conversations, transcribed them, and subjected them to an interrater reliability check. Analysis was based on the framework of Information-Motivation-Behavioral Skills Model and a phenomenological approach. Results College students have a repertoire of coping strategies they use in an attempt to safeguard themselves and their friends from harm when drinking. Strategies encompass planning a safe context for drinking, using safety measures to minimize harm when drinking, and taking care of someone who has consumed too much alcohol. Conclusions A harm-reduction focus that acknowledges and builds on existing protective strategies may be a promising avenue for alcohol interventions.