UNCP begins program
to combat student alcohol abuse
eight years of working in substance abuse counseling, Jennifer Smith
has seen the negative outcomes of alcohol abuse.
As UNC Pembroke's
new alcohol awareness program coordinator, Smith will have the opportunity
to jump in on the side of early prevention.
me about this program is that it is a proactive strategy, targeting
prevention at a critical stage in the lives of young people," Smith
Smith comes from
Southeastern Regional Mental Health Center to UNCP, where she will launch
a program aimed at high-risk drinking among students. The program, entitled
SPARC (Study to Prevent Alcohol Related Consequences), is funded at
five universities in North Carolina by a National Institute of Health
grant through the Wake Forest University's Bowman Gray School of Medicine.
- Duke, Western Carolina, UNC Greensboro, Appalachian State and UNCP
- are a testing ground for the prevention program, which seeks to change
the environment surrounding high-risk alcohol use by college students.
surveys show that UNC Pembroke is about the same as the national standard
as far as alcohol use is concerned," Smith said. "What is
unique about the program is that few campuses have one staff member
whose only mission is to combat alcohol abuse."
Assistant Director of UNCP's Office of Counseling and Testing, applied
for the $150,000, three-year grant.
"Not only do
we have one person devoted full-time, but for the first time we have
a specific budget for alcohol awareness programs," Gressman said.
"This program is about environmental change."
Smith will form
a broad coalition of "stakeholders" at the University and
in the surrounding community. The coalition may include fraternities,
sororities, student government, faculty, staff, merchants, churches,
local governments and law enforcement agencies.
the people and groups who deal with high-risk behaviors," Smith
said. "Our first objective is to promote positive social norms,
and our second goal is to reduce the availability of alcohol."
is defined as binge drinking and drinking and driving or engaging in
other dangerous activities. Smith said that changing culture is "a
lofty goal" but a worthy one.
"We work to
be a change agent for a culture," she said. "This is a vulnerable
age, especially for freshmen who may be away from home for the first
time and have a lot of freedom."
"It's a freedom
to make bad decisions, but it's also freedom to make good decisions,"
she said. "I am very optimistic that we can make changes."
Smith has a Bachelor
of Arts degree in psychology and a Master of Science and an Education
Specialist degree in counselor education, all from UNC Greensboro. She
is an Asheboro native.
For more information
about SPARC, call (910) 521- 6202, Ext. 6580.
to University Newswire