Alcohol coalition adds more students, plans information gathering sessions

The new University-wide coalition announced last month to address high-risk alcohol use among undergraduates has added eight more students to its ranks, begun identifying focus groups with which it hopes to meet and set the dates for three workshops in February.

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

The coalition's formation was announced Nov. 28 following several weeks of meetings by a planning group established by the Healthier Princeton Advisory Board to define the group's goals and create a roadmap for moving forward.

Many members of the planning group are continuing to serve as members of the coalition, including co-chairs Sanjeev Kulkarni, professor of electrical engineering and master of Butler College, and Agatha Offorjebe, a junior majoring in ecology and evolutionary biology.

Other returning members are: undergraduates Daniel DeGeorge, Esther Lee and William Scharf; graduate student Tanya De Mello; Joshua Rabinowitz, assistant professor of chemistry and the Lewis-Sigler Institute for Integrative Genomics; Gina Baral, director of health promotion and wellness services at University Health Services; Amy Campbell, special assistant to the vice president for campus life, who is serving as project manager; Janet Finnie, interim director of University Health Services; Steven Healy, director of public safety; and Hilary Herbold, associate dean of undergraduate students.

The new student members joining the coalition were nominated by student groups or by themselves and chosen by the group's leadership. They are undergraduates Chloe Angyal, John Baker, Elizabeth Dilday, Laurie Frey, Elizabet Sucuyan, Chris Chandler and Alex Cantwell and graduate student Kellam Conover. In addition, women's soccer coach Julie Shackford is a new member of the coalition.

The group has determined that the strategic plan will be informed by five elements: the work of the planning group; data collected about Princeton; best practices at other colleges and universities; stakeholder meetings with campus and community partners; and three themed workshops open to the entire community.

With the first two elements in hand, the coalition has begun working to identify best practices at other institutions and to gather information about them. In addition, the coalition has started to identify the stakeholder groups with which it hopes to meet in January. Kulkarni, Offorjebe and Campbell will lead these sessions, explaining the themes for the February workshops and encouraging participation in them by members of the stakeholder groups. They plan to return to these groups after the workshops to use them as a sounding board for emerging ideas from the first draft of the report.

The workshops are set for Fridays, Feb. 15, 22 and 29. They likely will begin at lunchtime and run through mid-afternoon. Each will feature a speaker to address the specific theme, and then include break-out sessions to encourage small-group discussion. Reports will be written on the break-out sessions.

The themes proposed for the workshops are: Feb. 15 -- reasons and motivations for high-risk drinking; Feb. 22 -- structures that promote high-risk drinking; Feb. 29 -- responsibilities of students to address high-risk drinking.

The coalition is expected to present a draft strategic plan at the May 9 meeting of the Healthier Princeton Advisory Board. The coalition is seeking to achieve several specific goals with the plan:

  • Promote a culture in which undergraduate students who choose to drink alcohol do so responsibly in a safe social environment and make decisions about their use of alcohol free from unhealthy peer influence.
  • Promote the development of and encourage students to participate in social activities that are not centered around high-risk drinking.
  • Encourage students to develop healthy behaviors with respect to alcohol that will continue beyond their years at Princeton University.
  • Support policies and processes that hold individuals and student groups accountable for their actions with respect to alcohol use and that address problematic alcohol use consistently and effectively.
  • Foster a culture in which students treat both their academic and social lives with a high level of maturity, reflecting  high community standards.

Those who wish to contact the alcohol coalition or provide input on its work may do so by e-mailing