The California State University to Hold Second Alcohol Awareness Conference

(April 22, 2003) The California State University, which two years ago adopted the first university system policy to curb student alcohol abuse, will hold its second annual alcohol advisory councils conference April 25 in Sacramento.

Representatives from all 23 CSU campuses are expected to attend the conference at the Sacramento Hilton Arden West to share information, best practices, policies and programs that promote responsible alcohol use and abuse prevention among CSU's 407,000 students.

The morning keynote speaker is Robert Saltz, from the University of California, Berkeley's Prevention Research Center. He will speak at 8:30 a.m. on "Future Directions for the Prevention of College Student Drinking Problems."

The luncheon keynote speaker is H. Wesley Perkins, professor of sociology and director of the Alcohol Education Project at Hobart and William Smith Colleges. A recognized expert in the field, Perkins developed the social norms approach to student alcohol abuse, which basically focuses on changing the misperceptions students have about how much their peers are drinking less than they imagine, in most cases. His topic is "Pursuing Science-Based Strategies to Reduce Campus Alcohol Abuse: The Promises and Challenges Of Social Norms Interventions." Perkins also will discuss emerging challenges for maximizing and maintaining effectiveness using this approach. Workshops throughout the day will feature presentations by various campus and state officials on such topics as athletic teams and alcohol; peer education programs; and successful campus programs. Plus, there will be a student roundtable discussion on alcohol issues facing students.

In November 2000, CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed appointed an Alcohol Policies and Prevention Programs Committee after the death of one CSU student and severe alcohol poisoning of two others. That committee, headed by Fresno State President John Welty, produced a report adopted by the CSU Board of Trustees in July 2001. It created alcohol advisory councils on all campuses, mandated a review of campus policies and called for an annual CSU conference to discuss how best to address the issue.

After the policy was adopted, Chancellor Reed and Secretary Maria Contreras-Sweet of the state's Business, Transportation and Housing Agency signed a memorandum of understanding to work together to reduce the negative impacts of alcohol on CSU campuses. Following that partnership, the CSU has received more than $1.57 million through the state's Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) and the Office of Traffic Safety (OTS). In addition, the CSU system has received the nationally prestigious Jeanne Clery Campus Safety Award for developing a comprehensive system-wide alcohol policy.

At the July Board of Trustees meeting, Chancellor Reed and President Welty will give a report about progress made on the campuses since the trustees approved the original policy in 2001.

The California State University is the largest system of senior higher education in the country, with 23 campuses, nearly 407,000 students and 45,000 faculty and staff. Since the system was created in 1961, it has awarded about 2 million degrees. The CSU is renowned for the quality of its teaching and for the job-ready graduates it produces. Its mission is to provide high-quality, affordable education to meet the ever-changing needs of the people of California. With its commitment to excellence, diversity and innovation, the CSU is the university system that is working for California. See www.calstate.edu.

Contact: Colleen Bentley-Adler, (562) 951-4801, cbentley-adler@calstate.edu

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Last Updated: 22 April 2003

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