Grant to provide alcohol education

In continued efforts to address underage and high-risk drinking on college campuses, the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board provided Gannon University with a $14,883 grant for the 2011-12 academic year. Gannon was one of 30 Pennsylvania colleges and universities to recieve the grant.

The grant will be used to better educate students by reevaluating existing university programs and by enforcing stricter campus patrols. Gannon plans to utilize the grant to fund a social norms campaign which will include targeted messages to students designed to raise alcohol awareness.

“The messages will emphasize the importance of being responsible and avoiding the negative consequences that can result from risky behaviors such as high-risk and binge drinking,” said Julia Srnka, assistant director for programs in the Office of Student Development.

Gannon will evaluate its existing program for alcohol and other drugs. Tentative plans include appointing a consultant whose main purpose would be to locate and identify the program’s strengths and weaknesses in order to prepare a strategic plan for the program.

Gannon also plans to distribute a drug and alcohol related survey to students, faculty and staff.

The feedback from these surveys will provide a better glimpse into the alcohol-related behavior that takes place on campus.

Another goal of the funds is to boost the number of Gannon’s campus patrols. “The grant will allow us to have a more visible presence on campus,” Srnka said.

“We will be able to better monitor the campus and more quickly take corrective action as needed.”

This increase in the number of Police and Safety staff members will be most beneficial on holidays and campus events such as Halloween, St. Patrick’s Day and Homecoming when students are more likely to engage in risky behavior.

“I think it’s a great idea to crack down on campus drinking because of the harm that overdrinking can do to young adults,” Casey Rogers, a senior pre-med major and current radiology technician at Hamot Medical Center, said.

“Health dangers of overdrinking include injury, memory loss, harm done unto others and oneself and ultimately death.”

Rogers said that he has seen several college patients with broken bones that have been directly caused by fights and other accidents that have arisen from the effects of heavy drinking.

Srnka said that it is important for Gannon to work closely with students to encourage responsible choices and prevent unsafe behaviors on campus.

COURTNEY MCCGRAW

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