|Vol. 19, No. 8||Oct. 21, 1999|
Amy Kinch, of the V-8s, receives an award from Newark
Mayor Hal Godwin and President David P. Roselle.Robert Stozek
Nine individuals and organizations were honored for their outstanding contributions to the University/community effort.
Halfway through a five-year program, funded by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the American Medical Association, organizers paused to evaluate what has been accomplished and what remains to be done.
Participants praised UD President David P. Roselle, who, for example, instituted a parental notification policy at UD, that led to reforms to the federal Higher Education Act. That act now permits all colleges and universities to inform parents or legal guardians about students under 21 who have violated laws about the use or possession of alcohol.
"Our campus-community coalition has been working to create long-lasting changes in the environment that support healthy lifestyle choices and discourage excessive alcohol consumption with its negative second-hand effects on others," Roselle told the gathering in his keynote address.
"To change a national college culture in which heavy drinking is not only a component, but often a goal, is a daunting task," Roselle said. "....Still, it was once thought that drunk drivers were just a part of life and that smokers had the right to smoke anywhere and anytime they chose to do so. Today, people are much more likely to speak out against drunk drivers and smokers because we now know the harm they cause others is not an acceptable price to pay for their behavior," he said.
"The UD/city of Newark project will be successful if individuals-particularly students-become willing to voice their disapproval of high-risk drinking when it adversely affects their lives and their community," the president said.
Roselle said UD has involved city leaders, law enforcement personnel, students, faculty and staff, parents, high school teachers and administrators, as well as PTAs and other members of the community in the project because the problem of alcohol abuse in not isolated on UD property.
Project accomplishments to date, listed by Roselle, include:
In praising the efforts of those involved in the project, Roselle noted that media coverage of the University's efforts has extended from the campus newspaper, The Review, to BBC Radio in London.
He also praised an innovative poster campaign that has drawn positive response from the campus and as well as requests for reprints.
In other good news, the president reported that the number of upperclass students choosing to remain on campus is increasing and that more students feel comfortable admitting that they abstain from binge drinking. Vandalism is declining by 31 percent on campus and enrollment figures are increasing as higher percentages of better students are accepting offers of admission to UD.
Community support for various aspects of the initiative, such as enforcement of the no-tailgating-after-kickoff policy has drawn overwhelming support, the president said.
John Bishop shows off the special Town and Gown T-shirt.Harry Shipman
"We need to reach out to the larger community," he said. "It is the alcohol industry's strategy to blame all of the negative consequences of drinking on the consumers of alcohol. Keep in mind that the tobacco industry was successful in doing this as well until recently.
"We need to get the message out to the larger community that the supply of alcohol in Newark comes from private enterprises, and we all need to become better informed and concerned about how those enterprises may contribute to our mutual problems and the solutions thereof.
"How do the suppliers encourage the use of alcohol? How do our laws enable the culture of heavy alcohol use to be sustained? What is the role of state and local government? How well is the Delaware Alcohol Beverage Control Commission serving the interests of the public?
"There is reason for optimism," Roselle said. "We can accomplish more if we stay focused on the public health aspects of the problem and continue to work cooperatively."
Honored Oct. 12 for their work on the project and for their dedication to the issue of reducing high-risk drinking were
Photos by Duane Perry