Monday Morning Update
September 13, 2010
Drinking Behavior: As first-year students adjust to campus life, administrators worry about the "college effect" that occurs during the first six weeks of class. During this critical time, students often develop dangerous drinking patterns with long-term consequences for their health and for academic and professional careers. Challenging and preventing such high-risk behavior, while nurturing academic and social development, is a priority for Stonehill and colleges nationwide.
College Response: Our Vice President for Student Affairs, Rev. John Denning, C.S.C., and his professional staff lead the charge in tackling this challenge. They are responsible for education and prevention outreach, alternative programming, individual counseling and the enforcement of community standards, including the administering of sanctions for alcohol policy violations.
Campus Coalition: A campus veteran who previously served as Vice President for Mission, Fr. Denning knows that a public health issue like this cannot be left to one division. Instead, it must have campus-wide backing, which is something the Student Affairs staff has been developing.
Task Force Formed: Last fall, the College created an Alcohol Task Force (ATF) to review student alcohol use, including prevention strategies, cultural changes and enhanced educational outreach. Chaired by the Associate Vice President for Student Affairs Pauline Dobrowski, the ATF brings together 21 community members to explore new ways of tackling an age-old issue and to draft an action plan for submission to President Mark Cregan, C.S.C.
ATF Updates: As the Alcohol Task Force meets this academic year, we will run occasional updates in the Monday Morning Update on its work to enhance prevention efforts and to reduce alcohol abuse. Significantly, the Task Force includes four student members. To see the list of members and to read its charge in full, visit here.
High Expectations: Asked what advice he has on alcohol for first-year parents, Fr. Denning said, "Students who know that their parents expect sound academic achievement devote more time to their studies. They have less time to use and potentially abuse alcohol. The key thing is to keep a conversation going with your son or daughter. And, if they tell you that all college kids drink, point to our stats, which show that 30% of first-years and 20% of all students do not drink. The misperception that they have to drink ‘like everyone else' can pressure young adults into thinking they have no peer allies for moral support when they do."
Fun Fund: One popular initiative in providing students with options for non-alcohol related events is the Fun Fund, which last year spent almost $5,000 helping 284 students attend off-campus cultural events for free or at reduced prices. For example, five first-year students attended a concert by Russian musician Regina Spektor on the Fun Fund's dime. Four juniors saw The Lion King in Boston. Twenty Seven other students went to the Harry Potter Exhibit at the Museum of Science. For more about the Fun Fund, which is co-sponsored by the Student Government Association and the Counseling & Testing Center, visit here.
For more information, contact Communications and Media Relations at 508-565-1321.