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Friday, August 26, 2005

UNCP putting the heat on drinking excesses

Students returning for the fall semester at UNC Pembroke may notice that policies and attitudes regarding alcohol are changing on campus.

Mark SchwarzeSome of those ongoing changes include:

  • the “keg party” may be history;
  • the Friday hangover may confront more rigorous demands in the classroom;
  • substance-free housing units may be coming;
  • leaflets promoting alcohol-related events are endangered;
  • a “safe-ride” program is planned; and
  • additional alcohol-free activities are on the drawing board.

These and other ideas are being discussed by a campus and community coalition whose mission is to reduce the negative consequences of drinking at UNCP. In its second year, CPARC (Coalition to Prevent Alcohol Related Consequences) is moving from strategic planning to action.

“We’re approaching this from a perspective that college drinking is a culture – what students perceive as a necessary ingredient for social success,” said Mark Schwarze, director of CPARC, an experimental program on five university campuses in North Carolina.

“We are attacking the ideal about alcohol that is embedded in all kinds of college environments,” he said. “Our committee has considerable resources.”

On August 10, a committee composed of state, county, municipal and campus law enforcement agencies, the courts, businesses, landlords, students and several UNCP administrative departments met August 10 to develop programs on and off campus.

“This is not just about our campus,” Schwarze said. “Drinking affects the entire community.”

Restricting the availability of alcohol to underage buyers is one goal of the CPARC. ALE (Alcohol Law Enforcement) agent Robert Ivey was at the August 10 meeting.

“We have already performed several alcohol compliance sweeps in Robeson County and several more are planned for municipalities where alcohol is sold,” Ivey said.

CPARC’s director said ensuring businesses are in compliance is just one step.

“Using fake IDs is not the only way underage drinkers get alcohol,” Schwarze said. “We need consistent enforcement of laws about furnishing alcohol to underage students.”

Changing the course of youth culture is no easy task, and that’s where marketing can help. UNCP is working on banning leaflets that mention alcohol, said Dr. Lisa Schaeffer, associate vice chancellor for Student Affairs.

“A tighter policy for putting out leaflets on campus is now at the Office of the University Attorney,” Dr. Schaeffer said.

CPARC is funded by a $150,000 grant at five universities in North Carolina by the National Institute of Health through the Wake Forest University’s Bowman Gray School of Medicine. The universities, including UNCP, are a testing ground for the prevention program, which seeks to change the environment surrounding high-risk alcohol use by college students.

For more information about the CPARC program, please contact Schwarze at 910.521.6580 or email

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