University awarded grant to address high-risk drinking

By Sara Gilgore

Due: 10/17

The University recently received a $15,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB) to help with efforts to reduce problematic drinking among students.
The grant was received through an application process, Dean of Students Susan Lantz said. Lantz worked with Tracy Shaynak, director of the Women’s Resource Center, and Hannah Roberts, psychologist and alcohol education specialist, to complete the application for the grant. This is the second consecutive year the University has been awarded a grant from the PLCB.
“This grant allows us to continue with our alcohol education initiative for first-year students,” Lantz said.“AlcoholEdu,” an online course intended to educate students about high-risk drinking in a college environment, is required for students to complete prior to their arrival on campus, Lantz said.
“This educational program motivates behavior change, discusses effects of alcohol and assists students in making healthy and safe decisions,” she said.

Shaynak believes there are many benefits to receiving the grant, in addition to its support for “AlcoholEdu.”

“We are grateful for the support we receive from organizations such as the PLCB not only for financial reasons, but also because it validates the important work being done by Bucknell faculty, staff and students, and enhances our ability to plan, implement and assess meaningful initiatives on campus,” Shaynak said.

Other programs that target high-risk drinking are also developing.

“Receiving this grant helps us with our other alcohol initiatives,” Lantz said.

The University received a $30,000 grant from the NCAA in April 2011 as part of its CHOICES program.

According to John Hardt, director of athletics and recreation, the grant will help start the “Raise Your Voices, Make Good Choices” initiative on campus, a three-year program directed by Roberts and Associate Athletics Director Maisha Palmer.

“A ‘Student Voices’ committee, consisting of one representative from each Bison varsity athletic team, will be formed with the intention of planning alcohol-free events, providing alcohol education and ultimately forming a peer group that will be trained in such areas as bystander intervention,” Hardt said.

He said this initiative is intended to provide education on alcohol abuse, as well as alternative programming for students.

“The program aims to help Bucknell students make informed and responsible decisions not only regarding their own health and safety, but also that of their peers,” Hardt said. “A goal of the program is to help students understand that they have a responsibility for the well-being of those around them.”

The University also participated in the National College Health Improvement Program (NCHIP) Collaborative on High Risk Drinking last spring, with 30 other institutions including Dartmouth College.

“This unprecedented initiative is using comprehensive assessment techniques to identify and implement the most effective ways to tackle high-risk drinking on college campuses,” Lantz said.

Shaynak agrees this issue deserves attention.

“The misuse of alcohol remains one of the most difficult issues facing colleges and universities today, and it can significantly impact the student experience on campus; most notably, in regard to alcohol overdose and physical and sexual assault, but also in regard to academic performance and the quality of the interpersonal relationships our students enjoy,” Shaynak said.

These three separate initiatives in the last six months have demonstrated the University’s interest and concern regarding alcohol abuse problems on campus, Hardt said.
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