Campus and Community Coalition Recognizes Local Leaders

AMHERST, Mass. - A local judge and a University of Massachusetts Amherst health educator were honored March 27 by the Campus and Community Coalition (CCC) for their efforts to reduce high-risk drinking and promote positive change in the community.

The annual Lamplighter Awards were presented to Judge John M. Payne, Jr., presiding justice at Eastern Hampshire Court in Belchertown and April M. McNally of the Center for Health Promotion at University Health Services, during a reception at the UMass Amherst Campus Center.

The Lamplighter Award honors individuals and groups for their leadership, commitment and contributions toward creating positive change.

Payne, who has partnered with the university’s BASICS alcohol education program since 2009, was cited for his ongoing support of campus and community efforts to hold students accountable for their behavior. Over the past three years, the judge has required more than 300 students who have appeared in his court to complete the BASICS program.

Under Payne’s leadership, court probation staff work closely with BASICS staff to ensure referrals are received and students complete the mandated intervention in a timely manner, resulting in a 100 percent compliance rate. Payne’s efforts, according to BASICS project director Diane Fedorchak, gives university officials "the ability to track and hold such students accountable and provide other levels of sanctions and interventions as necessary."

McNally was honored for her contributions to the CCC and the Center for Health Promotion through her role as a health educator, including motivating students to serve as healthy role models for their peers. She has involved students in creating sober driver campaigns and led efforts to have all incoming UMass Amherst students complete an online alcohol education course. McNally is also a key player in promoting social norms, a campaign that highlights and reinforces the healthy and responsible behavior of the majority of students.

Presenting the award to McNally, CCC co-chair Sally Linowski, who directs the Center for Health Promotion, said, "She never loses sight of the goal, sets high standards for herself and others and does the work, quietly, often behind the scenes, but thoroughly and completely."

The Campus and Community Coalition to Reduce High-Risk Drinking is a diverse group of leaders from UMass Amherst and the community who’ve come together to make a difference. Using environmental management strategies, the CCC works to change aspects of culture which promote, support or allow dangerous drinking.