News Pulse - State University of New York at New Paltz

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College to be featured as one of 29 national model programs


(Left to right) Paul Dexter, and Barbara Ryan, consultants for the U.S. Department of Education, met with Robin Cohen-La Valle (Student Development); Raymond Schwarz (Student Affairs); and Michelle Combs (Student Development) this month to collaborate in the creation of a national publication to help colleges and universities develop effective alcohol and drug abuse prevention programs.

The Center for Student Development at SUNY New Paltz is one of only 29 institutions of higher education nationwide chosen to be part of a U.S. Department of Education publication to assist colleges and universities in developing effective alcohol and other drug abuse prevention programs.

According to Raymond Schwarz (Student Affairs), New Paltz was chosen because it has been a recipient of the prestigious Model Grant Award program from the U.S. Department of Education, which recognizes the college for its alcohol and drug abuse prevention programs.

"New Paltz has been the recipient of many state and national prevention grants and is viewed statewide as a leader in the field," said Schwarz.

Schwarz and the other social norming project co-directors, Robin Cohen-La Valle (Student Development) and Michelle Combs (Student Development) met this month with both Paul Dexter and Barbara Ryan, consultants for the U.S. Department of Education, to help determine the common elements, unique strategies employed, as well as lessons learned between the New Paltz program and the other 28 institutions.

Cohen-La Valle said that New Paltz has been developing and implementing a comprehensive prevention program since 1986, and that the Model Grant has helped to foster a statewide appreciation for comprehensive prevention programs


"The Model grant was an award to enhance the work New Paltz has done and continues to do in the area of prevention," said Cohen-La Valle.

The four objectives of the SUNY New Paltz Model Program Enhancement Plan: 1) the reduction of high-risk alcohol use; 2) the fostering of a cultural permission to not use alcohol; 3) the ensuring of safety through the intolerance of misuse of alcohol; and, 4) the correction of misperceived norms held by incoming students.

Strategies included brochures for accepted students outlining campus expectations and norms, developing a CD-Rom and Welcome Week schedule highlighting healthy options enjoyed by students, and a tavern owner-university collaboration that reduces high-risk drink specials. Alcohol-free campus activities included Dolby surroundsound movies, video dance parties and shopping trips.

"The culture on campus and the surrounding community is successfully changing to show student support for low-risk choices," Combs said.

MARCH 28, 2005
Volume 3, Issue 6

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News Pulse is published every other week for the faculty and staff of SUNY New Paltz by the Office of Public Affairs. It is printed in-house on recycled paper.

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