Alcohol coalition begins drafting strategic plan

Following three successful workshops and more than 30 meetings with stakeholders to gather information and ideas, members of Princeton's Alcohol Coalition Committee will spend the next several weeks drafting a strategic plan on how to deal with high-risk drinking among undergraduates.

Sanjeev Kulkarni, co-chair of the coalition, outlined the group's next steps during the March 10 meeting of the Council of the Princeton University Community (CPUC).

"Our goal has been to engage all constituents across the University, to get involvement and ideas across the board, and to be very open and transparent about the plan," said Kulkarni, a professor of electrical engineering and the master of Butler College.

The coalition was formed in November and was charged by the Healthier Princeton Advisory Board with taking a comprehensive look at issues related to high-risk alcohol use. The group has defined high-risk drinking as any time the health, well-being and safety of the individual drinking or others is compromised, or where community standards are compromised. Made up mostly of students but also including faculty and staff, the group is scheduled to present the draft strategic plan to the board at its May 9 meeting.

From January through mid-February, coalition leaders held more than 30 stakeholder meetings with student, staff, alumni and community groups. "The idea was to let them know what we're doing and to get them engaged in the process," said Kulkarni, who co-chairs the coalition with junior Agatha Offorjebe.

On consecutive Fridays in February, the coalition organized workshops on three topics: "Reasons and Ways to Address High-Risk Drinking"; "Structures That Affect High-Risk Drinking"; and "Responsibilities Regarding High-Risk Drinking." More than 90 people attended the first workshop, more than 100 the second and about 115 the third.

An executive committee organized each workshop and now is in the process of completing a final report summarizing the main ideas discussed. These reports and information from the stakeholder meetings will be taken into account in the preparation of the strategic plan, as well as three other sources: the work of a planning group that took place last fall; data collected about Princeton; and best practices at other colleges and universities.

Kulkarni said the group also intends to go back to the stakeholder groups and perhaps hold an open forum. In addition, he is on the agenda for the next CPUC meeting at 4:30 p.m. Monday, April 21, in Betts Auditorium, School of Architecture.

Those who would like to contact the committee may e-mail or call project manager Amy Campbell at (609) 258-3622. More information is available on the coalition's website.