Cornell will join 13 other institutions to combat issues of alcohol use on college campuses as part of the Learning Collaborative on High-Risk Drinking, the creator of the collaborative, Dartmouth College, announced Monday.
The collaborative will hold conference calls every month and in-person meetings every six months to share implementation methods, outcomes and charting progress, according to a Dartmouth press release.
The first on-site meeting for the Learning Collaborative will be held at Cornell from June 29 to July 1. All the schools involved will participate in a preliminary conference call to exchange ideas, according to Tim Marchell ’82, director of mental health initiatives at Gannett Health Center.
“Every college or university president knows the terrible dread of having a student die of an alcohol-related cause. And every president’s first thought when a tragedy occurs is that there must be something the college or university could do to prevent these deaths,” President David Skorton said in a press release. “We all have methods of prevention that work some of the time. By pooling our ideas we have a better chance of finding solutions that improve our success rates. I am glad Cornell will be part of this effort.”
Cornell faced one alcohol related death this year when George Desdunes ’13 died in February.
Cornell will exchange information with the 13 other colleges and universities in the learning collaborative on effective methods of reducing potentially dangerous alcohol-related incidents.
“We’ll be hearing from national experts on high risk drinking and representatives from campuses that have had measurable success on reducing alcohol problems,” Marchell said. “What we’re doing at Cornell will depend on recommendations of the learning sessions.”
Last month, Vice President for Student and Academic Services Susan Murphy ’73 presented a summary of Cornell’s proposed involvement in the Learning Collaborative to the President’s Council on Alcohol and Other Drugs, a group of staff, students and faculty that advise the University’s approach toward preventing alcohol abuse, Marchell said.
Between four and six individuals from the President’s Council will be selected to participate in the Learning Collaborative. The team will be comprised of staff, faculty and student representatives, Marchell said.
Marchell said the team will continue to collaborate with the President’s Council throughout the duration of the Learning Collaborative.
“They will be part of a larger group that will be formed to work on the strategies that are applied in the University,” he said.
Marchell said that the University will consider many factors before making a decision on how to combat alcohol-related issues.
“The solution will likely encompass some combination of strategies that address the needs of individual students in terms of education and identifying and supporting students that have developed alcohol problems,” he said. “We will also employ strategies that address aspects of the environment of campus that shape students’ decisions on drinking … including the availability of alcohol.”
Marchell said he does not think Cornell experiences more alcohol-related problems than other schools.
“The problems that we have at Cornell are consistent with high-risk drinking levels on other campuses,” he said. “Still, these are significant problems that need to be addressed.”