Friday, April 12, 2013

PLU dropping dough on alcohol education

By Amy Wooten, Guest Writer

The athletic department at Pacific Lutheran University is making huge strides in alcohol education this year.
   
PLU’s athletics department received a $30,000 grant from the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Informed CHOICES program last April. The grant money went into effect fall of 2012 and will be used on a variety of projects until May of 2015.
   

The goal of the Informed CHOICES program is to support alcohol education while reaching out to more than just the student athlete.
   
“We haven’t been very intentional about making [alcohol education] a campus focus,” Jennifer Thomas, assistant athletic director at PLU and primary program developer, said. Thomas and other groups on campus want to change this by utilizing the grant money.
   
The Informed CHOICES program is funding a poster campaign that explains what appropriate behavior is for students when consuming alcohol. The grant is also putting together a TIPSY card.
   
“It will have information related to alcohol consumption and blood alcohol content as well as what to do in case of alcohol poisoning,” Thomas said.
   
As part of the three-year budget, Informed CHOICES set aside $2,000 for peer-to-peer programming.
   
“The CHOICES grant is meant to be a campus collaboration event, meaning that we have students involved in doing some of the programming,” Thomas said.
   
Athletics is willing to provide up to $250 for student groups that would like to put on informational events for their fellow students. Junior Becca Holtgeerts, a PLU volleyball player, said that peer programming “could be a fun opportunity for students to get creative about educating themselves and making smart decisions.”
   
The athletic department hopes to get a variety of students involved with the grant by making money readily available for things such as the peer-to-peer program.
   
Sophomore Emma Thompson said, “I’d almost rather be taught alcohol education from my peers than an adult because I feel more connected to them.”
   
If students want to get involved with the grant or lead an educational event, they can visit http://www.plu.edu/lutefit and fill out the funding application. New promotional material from Informed CHOICES will be produced and spread around campus this spring.