Grant helps campus meet challenges of high-risk drinking, drug abuse

November 03, 2005

The need to provide programming and other initiatives to educate students on the dangers of high-risk drinking, smoking and other drug abuse exists at all Penn State campuses. To meet that need, the Commission for the Prevention of Alcohol, Tobacco and Other Drug Abuse (CPATODA) -- for the past three years -- has awarded more than $100,000 in mini-grants to Penn State New Kensington and other Penn State campuses in support of such initiatives.

According to Barry Bram, CPATODA chair, funds are used to support the campuses' strategies in furthering their alcohol, tobacco and drug prevention efforts. "We want to make sure that Penn State campuses have the funds to run their innovative prevention programs," he said. "The goal of these grants is to help Penn State campuses to meet the challenges of reducing high-risk drinking and preventing tobacco and drug use among students."

An advisory group to the Vice President for Student Affairs, the mission of CPATODA is to foster an environment that does not support the abuse of alcohol, tobacco or other drugs. Its membership consists of Penn State students, faculty staff and administrators.

This past year, 10 campuses were awarded mini-grants based on documented effective or promising strategies to address substance abuse issues on campus. Campuses were eligible to receive up to $5,000 for their initiatives.

Because a large population of its students are athletes, Penn State New Kensington incorporated this factor into its alcohol and other abuse intervention programs. The campus used mini-grant funding for several projects, including posters featuring responsible student athletes from varsity, club and intramural sports.

"By seeing students they recognize, we thought the student body would be interested in and relate to the information being provided in regards to healthy living and responsible choices," said Theresa Bonk, director of student affairs at Penn State New Kensington.

The 2004-05 mini-grant recipients were Penn State Altoona, Penn State Beaver, Penn State DuBois, Penn State Erie, Penn State Harrisburg, Penn State New Kensington and Penn State Schuylkill. Penn State's northeast campuses -- Penn State Hazelton, Penn State Wilkes-Barre and Penn State Worthington Scranton were awarded a grant for joint programming efforts.

Strategies developed by the campuses with mini-grant funding include a video produced by Penn State Altoona staff and students, and written collaboratively by mental health, health education and substance abuse professionals. The video focused on social norm expectancies, harm-reduction strategies and motivational enhancement techniques.

Mini-grant funding provided Penn State Beaver with the resources to expand and enhance its already successful, late-night programming for students. "The CPATODA mini-grant was a huge asset to his campus," said Landon Clark, residence life coordinator at the campus. "It allowed us to create a program that offered healthy and fun alternatives for our resident and commuter students at the campus."

Penn State DuBois worked to enhance its campus and community partnership while Penn State Erie used mini-grant funding to participate in National College Health Assessment and administer the CORE Faculty and Staff Environmental Alcohol and Other Drug Survey to a random sample of faculty and staff to better understand the campus community perception of alcohol and drug use on campus.

A prior recipient of a CPATODA mini-grant, Penn State Schuylkill continued to utilize the funds to implement programs that offer first year students with education and options via alcohol and drug free options and tobacco cessation in programming.

Penn State Hazelton, Penn State Wilkes-Barre and Penn State Worthington Scranton continued to collaborate on the "Allies In Prevention" program, which is sponsored in full by the CPATODA mini-grant. The key components of "Allies" include educational programs for the entire student body, peer "Ally" training and intervention, and implementation and program support for the peer "Allies."

"The mini-grant has been a valuable resource to our campus," said Debra Jemo-Kobialka, Penn State Hazelton counseling services. "As a result of the Allies in Prevention Conference, students have formed a Student Government Association recognized club addressing the issue of alcohol awareness. These students have taken a very proactive role with their peers and are an integral part of our prevention initiative."

Applications for the campus and student CPATODA mini-grants for 2005-2006 are now available. Links to grant information and the application can be found at the CPATODA home page at online. Grant applications are due Nov. 7.

Students or student groups needing assistance with the grant application or who have questions regarding effective environmental strategies should contact Darcy Rameker,, Susan Kennedy,, or Mary Beth Allegar,

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated March 19, 2009