| University Joins in Alcohol Use Studies
CSUF committed to promoting health among
April 21, 2005
By Pam McLaren
Cal State Fullerton is tackling the issue of alcohol abuse
among college students. Three recently awarded grants will
be used to increase awareness of alcohol use and abuse and
to gather data on student perceptions and use.
"Cal State Fullerton is committed to promoting the health
of our campus community members by preserving an environment
free from illegal drugs and alcohol abuse," said Kandy Mink,
dean of students, who also chairs the campus's Alcohol and
Other Drug Advisory Committee. "We want to ensure that our
students are leading healthy and productive lives free from
"Our research shows us that Cal State Fullerton students
report that they are drinking at a somewhat lower rate compared
with students at other colleges across the country," Mink
said. "We also know from campus statistics that on-campus
incidents related to alcohol abuse are low. However, those
numbers can be deceiving because so many of our students
live off campus in the surrounding community."
CSU Alcohol and Traffic Safety
Cal State Fullerton is among 10 CSU campuses taking
part in an Alcohol and Traffic Safety Program funded by a
$750,000 grant. The CSU grant is part of $74.2 million in
traffic safety funds awarded last year to 277 California
state departments and communities committed to improved traffic
The program, administered by Fresno State , has awarded
mini-grants to fund anti-DUI initiatives on the campuses
at Bakersfield , Chico , Dominguez Hills, Fullerton , Pomona
, San Diego , San Luis Obispo , San Marcos , Sonoma and Stanislaus.
The goal is to reduce, by five percent, incidents of driving
after consuming alcohol and incidents of misconduct by Dec.
Fullerton is using part of its mini-grant to underwrite
the cost of a web-based education program about alcohol abuse
called AlcoholEdu. The main target audience for this effort
will be freshmen in the fall 2005 class.
The other funding will be used for a
peer education program provided by student leaders of GAMMA – Greeks
Advocating the Mature Management of Alcohol. The program
will include awareness campaigns targeting all Greek student
organizations on issues of drinking and driving, binge
drinking, alcohol poisoning, consequences of underage drinking
and drinking and sexual health.
"Our goal is to reduce risky behavior, particularly around
drinking and driving," noted Mink. "We want to give students
knowledge so they can make informed decisions when at a party
or other situation where there is alcohol."
This is the second such grant CSU has received for alcohol
awareness and prevention measures. In 2002, nearly $2 million
in grants from state agencies was awarded to the CSU to further
curb abuse on its campuses.
Prevention Research Center
addition, Cal State Fullerton is participating in "Safer
California Universities: A Multi-Campus Alcohol Problem Prevention
Study" conducted by the Prevention Research Center in Berkeley – one
of 16 centers throughout the country receiving federal support
through the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
for this type of effort. Cal State Fullerton is among a group
of UC and CSU campuses taking part in the five-year comparison
study. Fullerton is receiving $30,000 per academic year for
the life of the project.
In its inaugural year, all participating campuses will conduct
student surveys of drinking patterns, alcohol-related problems
and perceptions of drinking norms on campus, as well as provide
information on medical services and incidents involving alcohol.
Half the campuses will follow up with intervention
programs, while the rest, including Cal State Fullerton,
serve as controls, said Mink. In each of the follow-up years,
all participating campuses will survey students to see if
the interventions are having an affect.
In the third grant effort, Cal State Fullerton joins UC
Irvine and the County of Orange Health Care Agency 's Alcohol
and Drug Education and Prevention Team in a three-year program
to reduce the incidence of binge drinking and other risky
drinking behavior in the college-age population. Orange County
is one of 13 California counties sharing $10.2 million in
federal funds for this effort.
"Student safety and positive health is very important to
the university," noted Mink. "As such, we're excited to be
working with UCI and the county to find positive solutions
to risky drinking behavior in our college-age population."
During the first year, data will be collected from local
city police agencies, university offices of judicial affairs
and other campus offices about the number and types of alcohol
incidents related to UCI and CSUF students.
The last two years will focus on implementing a program
geared toward correcting student misperceptions regarding
alcohol use, changing community perceptions about alcohol
use on campus and advocating policies and procedures that
support safe drinking practices.
The grant efforts are just part of the campus activities
related to student alcohol use, noted Mary M. Herman, director
of health education and promotion at the Student Health and
Counseling Center . Those activities are overseen by the
Campus Alcohol and Other Drugs Advisory Committee, which
is made up of staff and faculty members, students and community
partners. Such alcohol education programs are offered through
the resident halls, Greek life and athletics, in addition
to the general health education program headed up by Herman.
Tomorrow (Friday), 10 Cal State Fullerton
students and staff members will join their peers at the
fourth annual California State University Alcohol Education
Conference "Creative Leadership
in Alcohol Prevention on College Campuses" in San Jose .
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