The strategic plan provides a framework of institutional initiatives designed to address these specific goals:
- Reduce dangerous and illegal behaviors
- Create increased awareness of healthy normative behaviors amongst students
- Increase collaborative engagement in alcohol prevention efforts across the campus community
- Increase consistency in policy development and enforcement Strategic Themes:
The strategic plan for 2010-2015 has five broad thematic areas:
- Environmental Climate and Assessment
- Programming and Community Collaboration
- Faculty Engagement
- Policy Review
Environmental Climate and Assessment
The culture of higher education in America demonstrates through statistics that individuals of the 19-24 year old population drink more than individuals not attending college. Colleges and universities across the nation struggle with institutional methods to address high risk and dangerous drinking. “Environmental Management” has been endorsed by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) as a tool to reduce danger and improve campus life.
The substance use and abuse climate at East Stroudsburg University has idiosyncrasies, unique to our institution just as any other school. A one-size-fit- all approach does not work for these issues on college campuses.
A strong prevention program must review physical, social, economic and legal factors that impact student decisions about alcohol use. To address our current ESU problems we must focus on the normative attitudinal atmosphere of the campus.
Comprehensive assessment of Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs (ATOD) programs implies many measures in multiple ways. Examples include concrete numbers associated with targeted outcomes; frequency and quantity of use; attitudes, perceptions and expectancies about alcohol use; the influence of environmental factors that contribute to risky drinking practices; the availability of substance; and the use of alcohol –free options. Careful observance of campus judicial code statistics, campus police infractions and substance related health statistics allow us to gauge progress and make improvements in our global effort.
- Assess student use and student perceptions annually using a recognized standardized Core and National College Health Assessment survey instrument in alternate years.
- Conduct market testing of normative media materials to determine believability and acceptability of messages
- Assess policy and effectiveness of enforcement efforts through the centralized collection of disciplinary and arrest statistics; survey the campus for measures of consistency in enforcement practices.
- Make recommendations to campus executive administration to implement best practices in prevention based on NIAAA standards, where applicable.
Programming and Community Collaboration
The operational arm of substance abuse prevention on campus calls for a campus-wide effort to prevent harm and reduce risk for our students. The Alcohol Advisory Board must represent the voices of a broad university constituency providing leadership for collaborative action addressing ESU college student substance use from before the point of entry and beyond graduation.
The ESU Alcohol Advisory Board members serve on the ESU Campus-Community Alcohol Coalition representing the university’s efforts of prevention in the local community beyond the university.
- Increase the participation of top ESU administration, faculty, staff, students and alumni in the Alcohol Advisory Board in planning and addressing substance use issues.
- Conduct a social norms campaign aimed at correcting misperceptions held about the prevalence and acceptability of drug and alcohol use on campus. Specific targets for marketing efforts include athletes, Greek social organizations and freshmen.
- Expand university support for student engagement in prevention efforts such as peer education, club involvement, co-curricular activities, inter-university internships, and volunteer hands-on prevention experience.
- Increase participation in late night programming on weekends, volunteer opportunities, and on and off campus alcohol-free social/recreational options.
- Increase communication and marketing of alternative academic activities, co-educational and social alcohol –free options utilizing web-based electronic and print media, posters, Stroud Courier, Facebook, Tutoring center communications, “bathroom stall” publications, and the neighborhood guide.
- Impact first impressions of campus by training orientation and admissions student employees in conversational points about the campus normative climate; continue a strong presence of alcohol prevention content at summer orientation.
- Continue to participate in sustainable collaborative community oriented prevention initiatives with regional borough officials, citizens, mental health practitioners, business leaders, clergy and law enforcement professionals.
Central to the mission of the university is to provide challenging curricula that equip students to critically appraise and apply knowledge in their lives and chosen fields. The optimal campus environment consists of Faculty who are fully aware of the multiple roles they play in the reduction of substance use on campus. As students perceive mentors, confidants, professional experts, the faculty connection to our students is a powerful way of influence towards positive behaviors.
- Increase faculty awareness of the severity of our campus problem by distributing normative statistical campus information to all departments.
- Increase the awareness of ATOD services through presentations at departmental meetings.
- Encourage the utilization of class related prevention strategies , such as holding Friday examinations, and reinforcing attendance at alcohol –free extra-curricular activities that compete with drinking nights.
- Identify and recommend academic processes that can address the high drinking rate of ESU seniors such as emphasizing the impact of alcohol violations on career opportunities, or increasing rigor/internship participation in the senior year.
- Design a survey to measure the impact of subtle messages that students get from Faculty about substance use and the impact faculty have on healthy character development of students.
- Provide Faculty and Advisors with resources to speak to the legal, ethical and professional consequences of student alcohol violations, and provide additional information on the recognition of substance related behavior and resources for troubled students.
- Develop a “Curriculum Infusion” plan that surveys for existing coursework and leads faculty to integrate discussions about the impact of alcohol abuse and associated issues into the syllabuses of courses that are offered across the curriculum.
- Facilitate the delivery of healthy ESU normative information as a part of curricular offerings especially within FIT classes, undeclared students (first year experience) classes, and other classes attended by freshmen and athletes.
- Increase the number of Faculty that offers extra credit to students that attend prevention and substance abuse education programs, activities and workshops.
A sustainable campus effort includes the allocation of personnel, physical space and budgetary support to maximize impact.
- Expand the institutionalization of prevention programs to include non-grant related work- study Peer Educators and /or an established graduate student position within the ATOD department.
- Continue to explore and seek outside resources for opportunities that enhance efforts aimed at reducing the impact of destructive high risk and illegal use of substances by students.
- Increase the use of technology to deliver voluntary on-line screening and interventions for the student body.
A strong substance prevention effort takes more than educational initiatives to reduce dangerous and risky substance related behavior. Awareness of policy serves as a deterrent to dangerous and undesirable behavior. Consistent application policy and procedures requires regular assessment of institutional practices that effectively reduce harm to the campus and community.
- Increase publicity of campus policy and enforcement in order to boost the awareness of legal and institutional ramifications of violations.
- Organize a forum on the effectiveness of policy, measure satisfaction of the campus community enforcement efforts and measures of the quality of life on campus and community.
- Maintain “Parental Notification” of campus violations for students under age 21.
- Review policies and procedures for substance related issues to make recommendations to enhance consistency of application; provide updated training to reflect changes in policy to pertinent constituencies.