UMass Amherst Participates in National Conference on Alcohol Abuse on College Campuses

AMHERST, Mass. - The University of Massachusetts Amherst was one of more than 30 universities that participated in a conference titled "The American Campus and Alcohol," held Oct. 23-25 in Washington, D.C.

The conference brought together teams of campus, community, and alcohol industry leaders to develop plans to combat alcohol abuse on college and university campuses and in communities.

Those attending from UMass included Chancellor David K. Scott; Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Campus Life F. Javier Cevallos; Dean of Students and Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Jo-Anne Vanin; and Student Trustee Seth Avakian. Also: Pamela Gonyer, director of Health Education and Outreach in University Health Services; Dawn Thompson, associate director of Housing Services for Residence Life; and Sally Linowski, community health educator in University Health Services.

Scott said: "This conference provided a forum for us to share our campus strategies for low-risk use of alcohol with other college and university teams and industry representatives, and for us to learn from them. By participating in this conference, we were able to build important partnerships with other university, government, and alcohol industry leaders, who are all working toward the same goal."

Peter H. Cressy, a former chancellor of UMass Dartmouth, is currently president/CEO of the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States, one of the organizations convening the conference. Cressy said: "As a university chancellor, I saw how alcohol abuse can affect a campus and its community. The key to effectively addressing alcohol abuse is an integrated partnership between the campus, the community, the beverage alcohol industry, parents, and students. Working together is the best solution. We all have a stake in ensuring that our campuses and surrounding communities are safe."

At the conference, numerous speakers from universities, government, and alcohol-related organizations presented information on various approaches and practices being used successfully on campuses to reduce alcohol abuse among college students. The conference also included team-planning sessions where teams worked independently to develop specific, action-oriented plans to take back and implement in their communities.

The conference was convened by George Washington University, UMass Dartmouth, UMass Amherst, Eastern Connecticut State University, the University of Louisville, and the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States.