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   from the issue of November 17, 2005

  $100,000 grant to recreate idea across nation

NU Directions hailed as a model program


The UNL NU Directions Campus-Community Coalition is a national "model" program that can be replicated at other colleges and universities, according to the U. S. Department of Education.

To help with the process, the department has awarded UNL a $100,000 grant to assist other Nebraska colleges and universities in replicating the approach and creating the Nebraska Collegiate Consortium to Reduce High Risk Drinking.

Ian Newman, director of the Nebraska Prevention Center for Alcohol and Drug Abuse and a member of the NU Directions core planning team since its inception, will lead the effort. The UNL team will offer technical assistance and support to other Nebraska two- and four-year colleges and universities focused on undergraduate education, assisting them in creating campus alcohol task forces that employ a comprehensive environmental model so that they can join existing community coalitions formed through funding by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services.

The comprehensive environmental model developed by NU Directions employs a broad collection of campus and community stakeholders who work collaboratively to address all aspects of the college environment that encourage high-risk drinking. Those range from creation and enforcement of policies both on and off campus that restrict access, availability and the promotion of high-risk activities, to individual and campuswide education about moderate alcohol use, abstinence and harm reduction. An evaluation study from the Harvard School of Public Health in 2003 confirmed that the efforts at UNL had produced a significant downward trend in the drinking rates of students as well as the harms experienced by drinkers and non-drinkers alike.

Newman and the Nebraska Prevention Center for Alcohol and Drug Abuse were also recently awarded funds from the Nebraska Office of Highway Safety to create a new data collection tool to enable UNL and other Nebraska colleges to track drinking trends and problems. The new survey created by the center will provide a variety of measures related to alcohol use and will also be used to provide feedback to Nebraska students about their alcohol consumption and potential risks.

"The award and grant show UNL to be a national leader in the field of college alcohol abuse prevention," Newman said. "More importantly, it allows us to use that expertise by first helping the other colleges and universities in our own state."

The U.S. Department of Education presents the Model Program Award annually to campuses across the country that demonstrate success through a specific approach to reduce college drinking and related harms. UNL was one of seven institutions to receive Model Program funding this year.



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