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Project Title:U-Choose: Your Experience, Your Outcomes, Your Limits Institution Name:St. Cloud State University Innovation Category:Campus Safety/Student Health & Wellness Project Director:Jennifer Sell Matzke, Assistant Dean of Students, Office of Student Life and DevelopmentContact Information:(320) 308-6290, jsmatzke@stcloudstate.eduWebsite:http://www.stcloudstate.edu/uchoose/default.asp
Project Description:

 

U-Choose, the Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention Program at St. Cloud State University, utilizes a comprehensive, environmental management approach to address alcohol and other drug–related problems within the college community. Empowering students to make informed choices about alcohol use, U-Choose helps students understand how high-risk drinking can lead to negative consequences; doing so in a way that is engaging, fun, and interactive. In order to be effective in our approach we value the following key components of effective prevention: student involvement, strategic planning, assessment and evaluation, media advocacy, senior administrative support, and developing and maintaining relationships with key internal and external stakeholders.

Objectives:

 

  • Provide education, skills, and resources that will help students make informed and responsible decisions about the use of alcohol.
  • Implement, publicize, and enforce laws and policies to prevent high-risk drinking.
  • Engage key stakeholders on campus and in the community to implement effective environmental management strategies.
  • Provide a reasonable level of care for individuals with a substance use disorder through education, counseling, referrals and recovery support services.
Outcomes:

 

  • Collaboration between the university, permanent residents, local law enforcement and city administrators to successfully adopt and implement Social Host, Disruptive Intoxication and Underage Social Event Ordinances.
  • Partnership established between city and university to implement the IMPACT Diversion program. This joint program provides education in lieu of permanent citation for individuals (students and non-students) charged with underage alcohol consumption.
  • Results from the 90-day IMPACT Diversion program follow-up assessment have shown a 50% reduction in peak blood alcohol content levels (BACs) for attendees. 94% of participants would recommend the course to others.
Challenges/Problems Encountered:

 

  • A lack of collaboration and trust existed with key external stakeholders such as law enforcement, permanent residents and city administration. Relationships improved when the Code of Conduct was updated to hold students accountable for off-campus behavior.
  • Previous prevention efforts focused primarily on providing education and resources at an individual or group level. Effectiveness of this type of approach is limited when the surrounding environment continues to promote high-risk drinking through issues related to access, availability and social messaging/advertising. The implementation of campus policies and city ordinances can help address this problem.
Evaluation Approach:Regularly surveying students on their self-reported use of alcohol and other drugs provides ongoing data to gauge the overall effectiveness of the institution’s alcohol and other drug prevention program. SCSU has participated in the College Student Health Survey administered by Boynton Health Services at the University of Minnesota every year since 2008. Changes in our trend data provide a macro picture of student behavior changes over time and enable us to assess the overall impact of our approach. The program also utilizes external data collected from local law enforcement agencies, emergency room staff, the regional detox center, and other agencies to evaluate effectiveness and to monitor trends.
Potential for Replication:Elements of the environmental management strategy and the U-Choose program can easily be adapted on other campuses according to their specific campus and community needs. Comprehensive efforts to address these issues at an institutional and community level require collaboration from internal and external stakeholders. Replication is most effective when key University administrators identify the prevention of high risk drinking as an institutional priority and provide the necessary support and resources to initiate a wide variety of prevention and/or alcohol-free activities on their campuses.
CEO-to-CEO Contact:Dr. Earl H. Potter , Presidentpresidentehpotter@stcloudstate.edu
(320) 308-2122
Date Published: Monday, September 15, 2014