Southeastern receives grant to combat alcohol abuse
Contact: Rene Abadie
HAMMOND – Southeastern has been awarded a $68,000 grant from the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission to enhance alcohol education and student awareness on campus.
Beginning Oct. 1, the year-long grant will focus on two major areas-- campus education and student involvement through the training of mentors and peer educators.
Written by the University Counseling Center and University Police Department, the grant will allow Southeastern to expand its student safety initiatives, said Barbara Hebert, director of the Counseling Center. The grant, she said, allows Southeastern to remain on the cutting edge of strategies used to decrease unsafe alcohol consumption, impaired driving and illegal alcohol use.
Efforts to promote alcohol education are the result of a charge by Southeastern President John L. Crain to increase campus awareness in the wake of tragic alcohol-related fatalities near the campus last spring.
One goal of the grant is to create a student-led task force that will include student mentoring and alcohol peer training to educate students about social norms.
“Social norming focuses on the fact that most students do not make unsafe choices regarding alcohol consumption and impaired driving,” Hebert said. “Student peers will promote the idea that it is socially acceptable to not consume alcohol.”
The University Counseling Center will collaborate with various student organizations and departments throughout the year to increase alcohol awareness through lectures, group meetings, and social activities, including Southeastern’s annual Alcohol Awareness Week held Oct. 19-23.
University faculty and staff are also actively participating in the discussion of alcohol-related problems and the development of solutions for educating the university community about the dangers of alcohol abuse.
A Division for Student Affairs task group led by Hebert and a faculty focus group directed by Mary Ballard, interim assistant dean for the College of Education and Human Development, were formed to discuss possible grant initiatives to combat alcohol misuse and promote campus wide alcohol awareness.
“The suggestions from both groups were remarkably parallel and many of the suggestions will implemented,” Hebert said. “With this grant, the Louisiana Highway Safety Commission has provided us with a tremendous opportunity to raise alcohol awareness within our campus community.”