Western receives second grant for drinking prevention

DANBURY, CONN. — By taking a hard line on reducing underage drinking on campus, Western Connecticut State University has earned its second grant from The Connecticut Healthy Campus Initiative to continue efforts on awareness and prevention.

The Connecticut Healthy Campus Initiative (CHCI), administered by Wheeler Clinic, is funded by the state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services with support of the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and U.S. Department of Education.

“We had to show DEMAS that we are succeeding in our prevention strategies,” said Sharon Guck, coordinator of the WCSU Alcohol & Substance Abuse Program. “We are seeing trends in a positive direction.”

The $320,000 grant makes it possible for the university to implement strategies to help reduce binge and underage drinking. Some of these strategies include an alcohol task force, student surveys and guest speakers.

Guck said some of the success is owed to programs in the residence hall and the annual alcohol awareness week. Making changes in the campus environment over recent years has also helped, she said. The university looks at managing the availability and access to alcohol, policing the campus and monitoring athletic events and on-campus parties.

A 30-day drinking survey of Western students indicated that binge drinking decreased six percent from 2006 to 2008 and another six percent between 2008 and 2010; 77 percent stated that in a week they have five drinks or fewer. “Any increase approaching 5 percent is a huge success,” Guck said.

 

Western Connecticut State University offers outstanding faculty in a range of quality academic programs. Our diverse university community provides students an enriching and supportive environment that takes advantage of the unique cultural offerings of Western Connecticut and New York. Our vision: To be an affordable public university with the characteristics of New England’s best small private universities.

 

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