Awards & Recognition
Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drugs Champion Award
Narayana Darst has served as the Interim Director Health Education and Promotion at California State University, Fullerton (CSUF) since March 2013, and prior to that served as the Health Educator specializing in the ATOD and Sexual Health topics. Even through times of difficulty and controversy, Narayana has forged ahead. In spite of a change of leadership and her sudden transition to Interim Director of Health Education and Promotion, Narayana was able to keep the priorities of her team focused on effective, evidence-based programming. She oversees campus alcohol sanction programs, including CHOICES, BASICS, and PATH (marijuana intervention), and is focused on providing evidence-based programming to reduce alcohol prevalence on our campus.
Narayana has maintained dynamic and solid partnerships on campus and in the community that led to exemplary programming. She has connected CSUF to a wide realm of community organizations such as the Orange County DUI Task Force, the Orange County Rx and OTC Drug Prevention Coalition, and the Orange County Tobacco Education Coalition. On campus, Narayana has been an invaluable leader of the Greeks Advocating for the Mature Management of Alcohol (GAMMA), and spearheads the Peer Health University Network (PHUN) which is a student organization of about 100 members. She has partnered with multiple departments and organizations on campus such as Student Affairs, Housing and Residence Life in promoting life-changing messaging regarding responsible choices for ATOD.
As Fullerton was the first CSU to implement a smoke-free policy, Narayana has been a driving force on the Presidential Directive 18 Steering Committee and is the backbone of policy awareness and programming. Her approach to an uncompliant student who still smokes cigarettes on our campus is full of understanding and helping the student create change talk to move to the next level of change.
Narayana is a stellar example to us all of how health education really works in the context of awareness, attitude and behavior change. Providing outstanding leadership for comprehensive alcohol and other drug prevention programs comes natural to her. Under her direction, CSUF Peer Health Educators were able to impact CSUF students in awareness and movement towards change regarding alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. Her staff almost tripled in size and she has been a superb leader and model of health recognizing the importance of self-care and support within her team of staff and students. She has modeled individual growth and determination in pushing forward to become better. With the outstanding aforementioned qualities in mind, Narayana has been selected as the 2014 Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drug Champion.