Slippery Rock University will receive $17,500 in grants from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board to address underage and dangerous drinking.
Renee Bateman, the coordinator for Health Promotion at SRU, said the grant will be used to support the university’s Social Norm Campaign, a program created by SRU Health Services to focus on the prevention of dangerous drinking among students.
“It is an evidence-based activity that aims to distribute messages to students,” Bateman said about the program, which attempts to correct the perceptions of drinking on campus. “For example, one poster in the past highlighted how 60 percent of students consume less than three drinks a week.”
SRU has been able to receive similar grants from the LCB in the recent past, and Bateman feels the programs they help fund have been successful.
“We have assessments after every grant period,” Bateman said, “and they have shown that perceptions about drinking are changing.”
Student reaction to the programs also seems to be positive.
“Students are stating they are learning how to reduce the risks of alcohol problems,” Bateman said, “and they know what steps to take to do so.”
Dr. Constance Foley, SRU’s director of Student Life, said there is a strong need for universities to have the resources to create and sponsor these types of programs.
“I think they’re very important” Foley said of the programs. “Alcohol and other drugs have continued for decades to be a major issue of all college students.”
Foley expressed various crimes often associated with alcohol, including property damage and sexual assault, and cited it as a contributing factor that interferes with academic progress in school.
“University administrators have been struggling for years to really educate students on the struggles of alcoholism,” Foley said.
The PLCB awarded $1 million in grants statewide, including a $14,883 grant to the Slippery Rock Borough with the purpose to help out in law enforcement training and efforts.