By Kyle Pendleton - Purdue Exponent - October 4, 2010
Let me first begin by saying that the Fraternity and Sorority Life staff shares the Exponent’s thoughts on “education and prevention” being the right approach to addressing high risk drinking at Purdue.
The recent efforts have not been trying to eradicate drinking from campus, because that is not a reality anyone believes will be happening any time soon. But rather, it has been a time for the cooperative house, fraternity, and sorority community to have meaningful dialogue on current prevention strategies and policy compliance, and how we can strengthen our methods of accountability.
Conversations occurred on unprecedented levels beginning at the top with the presidents and council officers and continued with every member of every chapter and house (and across campus, for that matter).
Some frustrations through all of this have centered on one thing being overlooked by many people: The C/F/S community had many excellent educational programs, progressive policies, and a prevention plan in place before the moratorium.
Because of these, the community’s efforts are what truly made this past week’s step different from a “ban” as it has been misinterpreted by many. In simplest of terms, the nature and length of the moratorium was exactly what the leadership intended; a short break from planning functions in order to refocus their members on increased safety.
In fact, in every interview given by the leaders and administrators, we were upfront and honest about this being “short term” and even shared that we thought it would be lifted at the meeting being held on Sept. 28.
Since “education” has been mentioned over and over again, we thought perhaps we could share with you some of the current efforts at Purdue addressing alcohol abuse:
- Alcohol education during Boiler Gold Rush (Student Wellness Office, Fraternity & Sorority Life)
- Social media campaigns on issues like drunk driving, breakfast club safety, hosting safe parties, minor consumption, and providing alcohol to minors (SWO, Caliber)
- Summer letter to parents before first-year students arrive on campus (vice president for student affairs)
- Federally Mandated Alcohol and Other Drug Policy Guide for students sent each year to all Purdue students (SWO)
- Alcohol Education Programming (SWO, FSL, Purdue Cooperative Council, Purdue University Police Department, Counseling and Psychological Services, University Religious Leaders, Caliber)
- Newsletters to campus and community partners about alcohol (SWO)
- Alcohol-related websites, such as www.purdue.edu/alcohol, www.purdue.edu/aod, www.purdue.edu/ccbrc, www.purdue.edu/parentvideo
- Campus Community Bar Retail Coalition (SWO, FSL, PUPD, Purdue Student Government, URL, Office of Dean of Students)
- Grand Alternative and other alcohol-free events (SWO, FSL, PCC, PUPD, PSG, URL, ODOS)
- “TiPS” alcohol intervention training and certification (FSL)
- “CHOICES” alcohol education program (FSL, URL)
- “Response Ability” bystander intervention training (FSL)
- Grand Prix Convocation (FSL, PCC)
- Adopt-A-Cop and Police Ride-Along Programs (FSL, PUPD)
- “Community Standards Panel” addressing event planning (FSL, PCC, PUPD, Excise)
- “New Member Orientation” program emphasizing alcohol education (FSL, PCC)
- “Ladder of Risk” training for all F/S presidents, risk management, and social chairs (FSL)
- “Greeklife.edu” online educational course for new members (select fraternities and sororities)
Again, we are proud of the past, present, and future work of the cooperative house, fraternity, and sorority community. I feel it is too early to call this past week’s event ineffective, and not fair to those student leaders that have stepped up in an attempt to create a long term solution.
Everyone welcomes and looks forward to any increase in partnerships that may come about as a result of the dialogue going on at Purdue in relations to high risk drinking and making our campus safer for all students.
Kyle A. Pendleton is Assistant Dean of Students and Director of Fraternity & Sorority Life. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Send letters to the editor to email@example.com.