Freshman Studies to ‘beef up’ alcohol education program
Reacting to the increase in alcohol related hospital transports last semester, the Freshman Studies department at Seton Hall is working to continue educating students on alcohol abuse and providing alternative activities for the weekends.
Vice President of Student Services Tracy Gottlieb said the important question they have been asking is whether the University is being more vigilant or whether students are using alcohol more.
“Obviously the University takes alcohol use and alcohol abuse very seriously,” Gottlieb said. “We do what we can in a culture that glorifies alcohol abuse among its young people.”
Gottlieb said that alcohol abuse and consumption is not a problem particular to Seton Hall, but rather is a broad cultural problem among schools around the country.
There is a protocol to help the departments of Public Safety and Housing and Residence Life identify whether a student may be at risk for alcohol poisoning and be in need of a transport, Gottlieb said.
Assessments are made of the behavior of the student, if a student does not appear to know where they are, if they are not able to walk or if they do not appear to be in control of themselves, Gottlieb said.
“We don’t want to take any chances,” Gottlieb said. “The health and safety of a student is more important than the embarrassment the student may face afterwards.”
When a student is transported, they are required to pay for the cost of the transport, their parents get notified and they are put in the judicial system on campus, Gottlieb said.
Incoming freshmen are required to complete an alcohol education program called Check Up To Go. The previous program, Alcohol EDU, was too long and students were not complying with requirement, according to Gottlieb.
The alcohol education program is discussed at orientation along with awareness of the pitfalls of college life and alcohol and drug abuse, Gottlieb said.
“We want everyone to have a good time but in a safe way,” Gottlieb said.
The University plans to study the issue further to see if there is a trend, Gottlieb said.
“We don’t want to make things stricter than they are, but obviously it’s a real concern to us if our students are abusing alcohol in a way that can put their safety in question,” Gottlieb said.
The University plans to continue with education on alcohol awareness and provide fun things that students can do that do not involve glorifying alcohol, Gottlieb said.
HRL is planning intensive programming on alcohol abuse in March, Gottlieb said.
Gottlieb said they will keep focusing on education and getting the students to hear their message.
“I do believe that we will beef up the alcohol education for the incoming freshman class just to make certain that students receive a safe message loud and clear,” Gottlieb said.
Joanna Toole can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.