Federal grant will target high-risk alcohol use

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Visual of U-Choose logo

ST. CLOUD, Minn. – St. Cloud State University has been awarded a grant of nearly $300,000 by the U.S. Department of Education to expand and strengthen the university’s approach to reducing high-risk drinking on campus and in the community. 

The grant was one of two awarded in Minnesota and 20 awarded across the country for what the Department of Education described as a national need to address high-risk drinking and violent behavior among college students.

With the award, St. Cloud State will partner with the St. Cloud Technical College (SCTC) to extend high-risk drinking prevention efforts to the 6,000 St. Cloud State students and 5,000 SCTC students who live off campus in the community.  The schools will partner with property managers to deliver high-risk alcohol prevention programming to their student tenants.

The collaboration will complement St. Cloud State’s existing environmental approach to reducing high-risk drinking and its associated negative consequences, which has included increased alcohol education with the U-Choose program, stronger enforcement of prohibitions against alcohol use, and partnerships with community groups such as the Neighborhood  University Community Council.

St. Cloud State has earned national attention for its alcohol education efforts and collaboration with the community to reduce high-risk drinking.  Staff members will make a presentation at an Association of College and University Housing Officers International conference in Baltimore at the end of June on strategies to reduce high-risk drinking among residence hall students and the evolution of the U-Choose alcohol/drug abuse prevention program that has reached 3,000 St. Cloud State students.  Earlier this year, U-Choose developer Robert Reff, interim assistant dean of students for chemical health and outreach, and St. Cloud-area landlord Patrick Mastey, who made U-Choose participation a requirement for leasing his properties, were invited keynote speakers for a conference in Pennsylvania on reducing dangerous and underage drinking.  The two discussed how a program like U-Choose can benefit students, the university, neighborhood property managers and the community.

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Contact:  Rob Reff, 320-308-6290.

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