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QU signs initiative to reduce drinking
In an effort to curb underage drinking and illegal drug use, Quinnipiac University has signed the Connecticut Campus Statewide Initiative with 25 other colleges and universities, the Governor’s Office, The Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, The Department of Higher Education, and The Governor’s Prevention Partnership.
Quinnipiac University President John Lahey signed the initiative at the state capital in Hartford on Jan. 20, said Jeanne Liu, assistant dean of student affairs and the leader of the Alcohol Awareness and Prevention program.
The signing of the initiative reflects that Quinnipiac “is committed to this and we’re taking it very seriously. We’re not just focusing in on our community but we’re willing to share and use our resources with other colleges and universities to work together to prevent underage drinking,” she said.
Each institution decides for itself how to institute the initiative, Liu said. She helps Quinnipiac University residential assistants develop drug and alcohol educational programs, of which each residential advisor must hold one program per semester.
The university is holding a long-term program called “I Choose” in which posters and t-shirts encourage students to make healthy choices regarding the consumption of alcohol and life in general, Liu said. On March 1, shortly before students leave campus for spring break, the university will bring in a speaker whose theme will be “10 things every college student should know about drinking.”
Nationally, about 80 percent to 85 percent of underage college students drink alcohol, Liu said. She estimates that about 70 percent of underage Quinnipiac University students drink alcohol.
She hopes the university’s programs will lead to fewer cases of underage drinking
“Being realistic, I don’t know if we could ever bring it down to zero percent. I would love to, but a lot of our students are coming into college drinking all ready from high school,” Liu said. “I think decreasing the number by 10 to 15 percent a year at a time would be a great goal to start to work with.”
Apart from the initiative, Liu meets with the university’s Student Government Association members to discuss issues concerning on-campus alcohol and drug use and to hear concerns of the entire student body on behalf of the SGA.
SGA President Steve Geller supports the university’s signing the initiative.
“I think it’s great that not only our school but other schools are committing themselves to start programs and to work toward better resources to promote alcohol awareness and drug awareness,” Geller said.