Campus: CSU Bakersfield -- May 14, 2002
California State University, Bakersfield Regional
Winner Of Its 2001-2002 Alcohol Awareness Program
Drinking and driving isn't a new problem on college campuses and neither
are the numerous programs universities around the nation have developed
to help prevent it. But it's not often that a school is recognized for
doing an outstanding job to reduce the dangers of alcohol and drug abuse
The Automobile Club of Southern California and the Higher Education
Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention recently named California
State University, Bakersfield regional winner of its 2001-2002 alcohol
awareness program. The CSUB program titled "Oksoberfest" was
chosen as one of the best alcohol prevention campaigns in the western
region, which includes colleges and universities from California, New
Mexico, Texas, Hawaii, Utah and Nevada. The University of Texas, Austin
claimed the grand prize.
Automobile Club senior research associate Steven Bloch said the prevention
awards program was developed to recognize outstanding efforts by universities
to reduce drinking and driving and substance abuse on campus.
"Cal State Bakersfield is one of only a handful of institutions
over the years that has demonstrated the kinds of characteristics we
look for in an award winning program," Bloch said. "Oksoberfest
won over programs at other universities for its innovative, week-long
themed events supporting students that want to drink safely or not drink
Last October, in conjunction with the National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness
Week, the CSUB Student Affairs office sponsored Oksoberfest. Activities
included a barbecue and rally, speakers on alcohol awareness, simulated
drunk driving tests and non-alcoholic smoothies. Students, faculty and
staff worked together to provide information and statistics about alcohol
abuse, responsible drinking options, and demonstrated non-alcoholic
options for having fun.
The program was developed by the CSUB Alcohol and Drug Education Committee,
which also promotes year-long alcohol prevention and drug abuse programs.
Chairwoman LaShawn Barefield said the committee's ongoing goals are
to reduce underage drinking, support those who choose not to drink,
prevent and reduce the number of students drinking and driving, increase
responsible drinking choices, increase awareness of nonalcoholic options
and of alcohol and affects and support those who have alcohol abuse
Barefield was pleasantly surprised by the students' interest and participation
"It was amazing how receptive the students were to receiving this
type of information," Barefield said. "One of the biggest
problems with drinking on campus is the misconception that everyone
is doing it. I think the students were surprised to learn that not as
many students as they thought drink regularly. They also saw that there
are ways to have fun without drinking."
CSUB has promoted alcohol and drug prevention for many years but the
development of the recent campaign follows on the heels of a recently
developed statewide CSU alcohol prevention program. After several tragic,
alcohol-related incidents on other CSU campuses in 2000, CSU chancellor
Charles Reed enacted an aggressive alcohol policy and prevention program.
Along with establishing program guidelines, $25,000 challenge grants
were made available to all 23 CSU campuses to focus alcohol abuse prevention
efforts on campus and in community environments.
CSUB President Tomas Arciniega was a member of the task force that developed
the statewide program and has been a driving force behind the alcohol
prevention efforts at CSUB.
"The CSU system has been proactive and in the forefront of the
entire country in working to address the issue of alcohol and drug abuse
on college campuses," Arciniega said. "I have taken a personal
interest in this program and a strong position in seeing that we do
our best to have a model effort at Cal State Bakersfield."