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Alcohol coalition seeks information at February workshops

Feb. 15-29, 2008, 1 to 5 p.m. Frist Campus Center and Wu Hall

A series of workshops to gather information from students, faculty, staff, alumni and community partners on high-risk alcohol use among students is scheduled for three Fridays in February.

The workshops are being organized by the Princeton Alcohol Coalition that was formed in November by the Healthier Princeton Advisory Board.

The dates and themes for the workshops are:

  • Feb. 15 -- "Reasons and Ways to Address High-Risk Drinking."
  • Feb. 22 -- "Structures That Affect High-Risk Drinking."
  • Feb. 29 -- "Responsibilities Regarding High-Risk Drinking."

The workshops will run from 1 to 5 p.m. and will be followed by receptions. The first workshop will take place in the Frist Campus Center Multipurpose Room, and the others will be held in the Wu Dining Hall at Butler College. Snacks will be provided.

Each workshop will feature a speaker to address the specific theme, and then include two break-out sessions to encourage small-group discussion. Groups will write their best two ideas on posters for further comment and discussion during the receptions, which are intended to continue the conversation and promote feedback. Reports will be written summarizing each workshop.

Students are strongly urged to attend, lending their voices to the conversations and to the outcomes of the strategic planning process.

"This is really an amazing opportunity for us to have a say on an issue that affects us directly," said junior Agatha Offorjebe, who co-chairs the coalition with Sanjeev Kulkarni, professor of electrical engineering and master of Butler College. "It is important that students are active participants in these series of conversations, as what comes out of these workshops will impact how this campus addresses issues of high-risk alcohol use."

The speaker for the first workshop will be Mike Lemonick, a journalist specializing in science and medical writing. For more than 20 years, he was a senior science writer at Time magazine, where he still is a contributing writer. He also teaches science writing at Princeton, Johns Hopkins, New York and Columbia universities.

The speaker for the second workshop will be Linda Langford, associate director of the U.S. Department of Education's Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse and Violence Prevention. As part of the Campus Alcohol Prevention and Intervention project funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, she is working with several statewide campus coalitions to support the integration of violence and alcohol prevention efforts and developing a manual to promote effective uses of the mass media for prevention.

Those interested in attending should RSVP with their name, class year or affiliation, and choice of workshop(s) to or (609) 258-5980. Undergraduates will be given seating priority, although the coalition will try to accommodate all, according to space limitations.

Made up mostly of students but also including faculty and staff, the coalition has been charged by the Healthier Princeton Advisory Board with taking a comprehensive look at issues related to high-risk alcohol use by undergraduates. The group will gather information from a variety of sources over the next few months and present a draft strategic plan at the board's May 9 meeting.

In addition to the workshops, the group has determined that the strategic plan will be informed by the work of a planning group that took place last fall; data collected about Princeton; best practices at other colleges and universities; and stakeholder meetings with campus and community partners that are taking place this spring.

More information is available on the coalition's website.

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