By Scott Bigelow
Program to combat high-risk drinking begins at UNCP
program to combat high-risk alcohol use at The University of North Carolina
at Pembroke is taking shape just as students begin returning to campus.
A coalition of University and community stakeholders met August 11
to develop strategies including education, alcohol-free social activities
and law enforcement.
A broad-range of interest groups were represented from University departments,
students, courts, public school, healthcare, business, community-based
organizations and state, local and campus law enforcement agencies.
Entitled SPARC (Study to Prevent Alcohol Related Consequences), the
program is funded by a $150,000, three-year grant at five universities
in North Carolina by a National Institute of Health grant through the
Wake Forest University's Bowman Gray School of Medicine. The universities
- 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.
Jennifer Smith, who directs SPARC at UNCP, is pleased with the response
from the community groups.
"I was really excited to see the balance between community and
campus participants at this first meeting," Smith said. "It
is very important that we gain input from diverse groups as we begin
Several programs are in the works, including undercover law enforcement
checks for underage sales of alcoholic beverages.
"Representatives from the North Carolina Alcohol Law Enforcement
(ALE) promised an undercover operation sometime during the school year,"
Smith said. "This is good news as businesses educate their employees
about underage sales."
SPARC will bring the Save-a-life Tour to UNCP and locations in Lumberton
and Fayetteville this fall, Smith said.
"This is a mobile drunk driving simulator that gives students
of all ages an opportunity to get a first-hand experience of how alcohol
impairs driving skills," Smith said. "It is a state-of-the-art
driving simulation and very effective."
A 'social norms' campaign to demonstrate alcohol-free social activities
is also in the planning stages.
"We are planning events at times that are considered prime for
high-risk behaviors," Smith said. "During conversations with
the committee we learned that the University already has good alcohol
policies in place for student housing and student activities."
At the meeting were: Herbert Battle, N.C. Alcohol Law Enforcement;
Stan Carmical, Robeson County District Court Judge; Janice Oxendine,
Larry Pittman, Carolina Manor Recovery Alternatives/Addiction Professionals
of North Carolina; Robeson Healthcare Corporation; James Bell, N.C.
Commission of Indian Affairs; Travis Bryant, Pembroke Police Chief;
Darrell M. Goldsberry, Pembroke Food Lion; Wesley Revels, Prinicpal,
Purnell Swett High School; Beverly Hall, American Indian Mothers; R.D.
Locklear, Pembroke Chamber of Commerce and Herman Locklear, Public Schools
of Robeson County.
From UNCP were: David Helton and Ed Locklear, Police; Lisa Schaeffer,
Student Affairs; Lorna Ricotta, Alumni Relations; Linda Greaver, Healthy
Start Program; Cora Bullard, Student Health Services; Shannon Wharry,
Housing; Cynthia Redfearn, Housing and Residence Life; Michael Graham,
student; Monica Osburn, Counseling and Testing; Sandy Stratil, College
Opportunities Program; George Gressman, Counseling and Testing; Dan
Kenney, Athletic Director; Preston Swiney, Dean of Students; Kevin C.
Hunt, student and Jennifer Smith, SPARC Campus/Community Organizer.
Return to University Newswire