National experts on strategies to fight binge and underage drinking on college campuses and in college communities joined the Penn State community and state officials last week at University Park to share ideas and innovative approaches to combat the problem.
Faculty and staff across the state, community leaders, members of the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board and the State Police Bureau of Liquor Control Enforcement attended the second PSU-PLCB Partnership for Prevention Conference which focused on establishing links to faculty, students and campus communities and learning the latest about prevention programs that work. Among the issues stressed were ways to let students know that most students are not problem drinkers and that both students and community leaders need to be involved in prevention program development.
Penn State and the PLCB also announced that the 20 Penn State campuses that are part of the partnership program will receive up to an additional $4,000 for technical support, program assessment and implementation of their programs.
William W. Asbury, vice president for student affairs, said that Penn State's commitment to addressing problem drinking is long-term and that its partnership with the PLCB is unique among colleges and universities nationwide
"We are working with Penn State and several other colleges and universities throughout Pennsylvania to change the culture and environment in our college communities that leads to underage and dangerous drinking. During this conference, we focused on the critical role campus-community coalitions play in our efforts to prevent these dangerous drinking practices," said PLCB Chairman John Jones III.
Jones met with Penn State President Graham B. Spanier, Asbury and Penn State campus executive officers at a roundtable discussion on prevention strategies.
Among the highlights of the conference were Penn State presentations about the development and outcomes of their PSU-PLCB campus-community partnership programs. Generally, these strategies focus on education and sharing resources, peer initiatives, strategic planning, ways to involve faculty, social marketing and building partnerships.
For example, Penn State Altoona's presentation was on its social marketing campaign. The campus-community partnership group is promoting the finding that 53 percent of students don't binge drink, in order to counteract the myth that everyone drinks at college.
The University Park team gave participants a tour of a new educational and alcohol resource Web page they developed at http://www.psu.edu/ATOD/. It includes alcohol and drug abuse prevention resources to share with other Penn State campuses as well as with other colleges and universities nationwide. The site has already been visited by nearly 4,000 readers.
National leaders addressed participants and led workshops on such topics as community health and cultural change, preventing high-risk drinking through collaboration, the social norms approach and alcohol issues and the law.
Judith Vicary, Penn State professor of biobehavioral health and chair of the PSU-PLCB conference programs says that the 2000 conference will highlight the best practices of all the PLCB partnership college and universities across the state as well as some of the most successful programs nationally.
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