CSU report: campus drinking in decline
September 20, 2007 9:04 PM
A California State University systemwide alcohol prevention program has successfully reduced the amount of drinking on campuses, according to a July report released by the board of trustees.
The report was jointly presented by CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed and Fresno State University President John D. Welty, who chairs the Alcohol Policy and Prevention Programs Committee. The report documented a general trend toward a reduction in the number of reported instances of drinking and driving, binge consumption, and student alcohol-related misconduct.
“The CSU’s alcohol policy is visionary and ambitious,” Reed said. “It has been called one of the most comprehensive in the country.”
The report also showed a decline in the number of underage students who consume alcohol and an increased number of students who used medical assistance to aid intoxicated friends.
CSU trustees created the committee in 2001 to provide a consolidated guideline of recommendations for all 23 CSU campuses. Each campus then worked within those guidelines to implement enforcement policies and programs in education, drinking assessment, intervention, and treatment.
One program at Chico State University requires students to take an online alcohol course that teaches them about the dangers and consequences associated with drinking. The course takes students four to six weeks to complete.
According to Ray Murillo, Associate Director of Student Programs at the Chancellor’s Office, the Chico State course serves as a drinking assessment tool, but also provides students with extensive education on responsible alcohol consumption.
“Most student behavior has changed,” Murillo said. “Students have been definitely drinking less.”
Within the CSU prevention program, every campus is encouraged to apply for additional grants provided by state agencies and departments. Since the committee’s inception, the Office of Traffic Safety has dispersed $2.23 million in grants aimed at reducing student-related drinking and driving incidents.
SF State freshman Samantha Patton said that “we always have a designated driver” when she and her friends drink. While she admits to underage drinking, she added that “I don’t drink that much and my friends are pretty responsible.”
On the SF State campus, Michael Ritter is the director of an alcohol awareness program called Creating Empowerment through Alcohol and Substance Abuse Education. His state-funded organization offers on-campus Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and peer education programs. C.E.A.S.E. also provides two CSU-backed online alcohol and drug self-assessment surveys called e-Chug and e-Toke.
Ritter said that the online self-assessments are an effective first step in alcohol abuse prevention.
“Students may not be ready to see a counselor or go to A.A.,” Ritter said, “but [after the assessment] they may say ‘maybe I need to take a look at my drinking.’”
Ritter also chairs SF State’s Alcohol Advisory Committee, which in 2003 adopted CSU recommendations for eliminating hard-liquor sales on campus and drink specials such as 2-for-1 and super-sized drinks.
On-campus alcohol vendors such as The Pub in the Caesar Chavez Student Center say they had no problem complying.
“My customers are very responsible,” said Ferras Jweinat, The Pub’s co-owner and manager, “I’ve never had a single incident in my seven years being here.”
Jweinat added that his business works closely with the campus authorities to ensure student safety and provide a peaceful place for students to relax away from class.
“We’re all adults here,” he said, “We know how to handle our drinks and are entitled to this leisure.”
Students outside The Pub agreed that they didn’t see alcohol abuse as a major problem plaguing SF State.
Prentiss Jackson, a 28-year-old urban studies major, said alcohol abuse is a problem facing all of society, not just students.
“In my neighborhood, we have liquor stores on every corner,” said Jackson, “Here on campus, we like to have our fun, but overwhelming school comes first.”
POST A COMMENT
|BACK TO TOP|| |
Copyright © 2008 [X]press | Journalism Department - San Francisco State University