St. Cloud Community Alliance

History

The St. Cloud Community Alliance was launched in 2010 under the leadership of St. Cloud State University President Earl H. Potter, III (2007-2016) and St. Cloud Mayor Dave Kleis. The SCCA utilized a best practice approach to direct the work of the community coalition. With the help of an external consultant, Dr. Thomas Workman, the SCCA leadership team outlined a basic plan, highlighted below, based on the work of other coalitions. The group used this outline as a starting point for their work.

Basic Outline

The St. Cloud Community Alliance utilizes a best practice approach to the formation and development of our community coalition. The unique part about this work is that the specific goals and work of the group is determined by all involved. For this reason, participation by all is critical.  

The primary goal of the coalition is to reduce the incidence of high-risk drinking and its related negative consequences in the St. Cloud community.  High-risk drinking is defined as excessive consumption of alcoholic beverages that increases the risk of experiencing negative consequences not only for those who are drinking but also for the community. Examples of possible negative effects of high-risk drinking for those who drink include vandalism, property damage, illegal activity, draining of community resources, getting into fights, car accidents, or death from alcohol.  Possible negative consequences from high-risk drinking to the community include:

  1. City Resources: Increased need for police and ER personal and resources
  2. Neighborhoods: Increased noise, trash, and vandalism
  3. Businesses: Disruptive patrons, difficulties recruiting new employees, increased costs for cleaning, security and legal liabilities
  4. Educational: Negative perceptions (e.g, party school image), difficulties in recruiting high caliber students, poor grades, increased absences, career implications for students, and students’ futures
  5. Interpersonal: Impact on love ones and family costs of health care

In addition to addressing individual behaviors, The Alliance recognizes that it is critical that the community takes a collaborative approach to change the campus and community environment in which college students live, learn, and recreate.  Research suggests that the environment  -- the places, policies, and messages that surround individuals and groups – have a direct impact on alcohol consumption.  Research has also demonstrated that changes in the campus and community environment are best changed by bringing together the many diverse stakeholders of that community – community leaders, neighbors, hospitality owners, police, students, landlords, administrators, faculty and parents -- who work corroboratively to find effective solutions.

Other communities that have brought individuals together have accomplished goals such as:

  1. Decreasing underage alcohol use
  2. Enhancing healthy and safe communities
  3. Enhancing safe climates for residents, guests, community, and the hospitality industry
  4. Developing and enhancing the relationship between the community, the hospitality  industry, and institutions of higher education

Founding Co-Chairs

The following individuals provided their guidance, direction and influence to help establish the St. Cloud Community Alliance. As founding co-chairs they served two critical functions:

  1. Access to and influence with key stakeholders, and 
  2. Insights and guidance on navigating the politics of the community and the major institutions and determining appropriate strategy. In campus-community coalitions, cochairs are preferred as they can equally represent the two main components of the collaborative effort. Therefore, cochairs who are at the highest levels of authority in the campus administration and the community’s government are best. They also communicate the collaborative nature of the coalition and the notion that the coalition sees the issue as one of shared responsibility between the campus and the community.

Mayor Dave Kleis

Mayor Dave Kleis

Dave Kleis is a Magna Cum Laude 1989 graduate of St. Cloud State University, and a nine year veteran of the Air Force and Air Force Reserve. He served the St. Cloud area in the Minnesota Senate from 1994 through 2005 - seven years as Assistant Senate Minority Leader and six years as ranking Minority member on the Senate Crime Prevention Committee. He established and owns the Central Minnesota Driving Academy since 1991, a driver’s education business that employs 25 people in St. Cloud.

Dave was elected as mayor of St. Cloud in November 2005. He was re-elected as mayor (running unopposed) in November 2008. He serves on numerous boards and commissions and in an active member of many St. Cloud community organizations.

President Earl H. Potter, III

President Earl H. Potter, III

Since July 2007, President Earl H. Potter III has led St. Cloud State University with an understanding and support of its mission of providing an affordable, high-quality education for students from Minnesota and around the world.

Through his work to prepare students for life, work and citizenship in the 21st Century, President Potter established himself as a leader to envision the University as a driving force for progress and problem solving in the region and as a great pride for the community and state.

Under President Potter’s leadership the University has strengthened its strong commitment to an integrated student learning experience. The University has been energized by his forward-looking perspectives and his innovative approach to bringing about positive change with a dedication to improving retention and graduation rates among St. Cloud State students.

Read more of Dr. Potter's Biography.

Consultant

Thomas A. Workman, Ph. D.

Workman

Read Dr. Workman’s Full Resume (CV)

Tom Workman has been actively involved in grant-funded health communication projects for the past twelve years. He has extensive experience in using communication-based strategies to address substance abuse and other high-risk behaviors among college students, and is an active researcher, writer, presenter and practitioner in the field.

Tom currently serves as an Assistant Professor of Communication Studies at the University of Houston-Downtown, and an Assistant Professor in the School of Allied Health Sciences at the Baylor College of Medicine, where he leads the Production Unit at the John M. Eisenberg Center for Clinical Decisions and Communications Science, a project funded the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Prior to moving to Houston, Tom served as the Communications Coordinator and Associate Director of the NU Directions Campus-Community Coalition, a project funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that was awarded a U.S. Department of Education Model Program grant in 2007. In 2009, Tom and his colleague Linda Major were honored with the Facilitator Award by the Stetson University College of Law’s Center for Excellence in Higher Education Law and Policy for their work in the Lincoln community, which has resulted in significant reductions in alcohol consumption and related problems by University of Nebraska-Lincoln students. The coalition has been featured in a wide variety of national conferences, journal articles, and a documentary.

Tom is currently the National Chair of the Alcohol and Other Drug Knowledge Community for the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA). He also serves as a content expert for the U.S. Department of Education’s Higher Education Center for Alcohol, Other Drugs, and Violence Prevention, is a member of the Council of Advisors for The Network Addressing Collegiate Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse, and serves on the Advisory Board for the Center for Excellence in Higher Education Law and Policy. Tom also serves on the editorial board of two academic journals, Health Communication and Communication Quarterly.