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NCAA “Choices” Grant for Educational Effort to Implement Healthy Choices About Alcohol Use

NCAA “Choices” Grant for Educational Effort to Implement Healthy Choices About Alcohol Use


June 25, 2013

Lyndon State College was awarded a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) “Choices” Grant, which provides funding for campus-wide alcohol education efforts. LSC will institute a “Healthy Hornet Choices” program which incorporates alcohol education with creative and fun activities and allows students to make informed and responsible decisions about alcohol use. The $30,000 grant, awarded over a three-year period, will be under the auspices of the LSC Athletic Department, the Office of Student Affairs, and the Psychology and Human Services Department.

Part of the program’s focus is on developing student-athletes and other student leaders as positive role models on campus. A strong relationship between student-athletes and the total campus community can serve as a positive strategy for alcohol prevention efforts and for creating a healthier campus.

The Health Hornet Choices campaign has four main objectives:

1) Increase student awareness of personal choices about alcohol use and healthy behaviors through a campus-wide media campaign using social, print, and radio platforms.

2) Provide opportunities for student-athletes and other student leaders to model their healthy choices through a peer-to-peer education program. This program will include at least 10 student-athletes and five other student leaders.

3) Increase on-campus activities during high-risk drinking times. Each semester, the student body will select activities which will be cosponsored by the Choices program along with Residential Life and the Campus Activities Board.

4) Develop college alcohol policies that focus on supporting, educating, and intervening with students, as needed.

Dr. Meri Stiles, associate professor of Psychology and Human Services, has expertise in substance use prevention and was the grant’s principal investigator. She said, “[Although the grant] is not renewable, it is written so that all of the activity fits with departments or programs already in place – – so it is sustainable. The grant allows some energy and resources to be dedicated to these efforts specifically. Once programming is in place, departments and programs on campus will take on the responsibility to keep it going. We will ask faculty and staff to nominate student leaders to be trained for the peer-to-peer program.”

In 1991, Anheuser-Busch endowed the NCAA with $2.5 million to create a grant program to help NCAA member institutions and conferences integrate athletics into larger campus-wide alcohol education efforts. The program, called CHOICES, began by awarding grants in various amounts and for a variety of projects. In 1998, the NCAA narrowed the scope of the projects to a three-year cycle. More than $5.7 million in awards has been given to 229 member institutions.

The other project developers from Lyndon State were Assistant Athletic Director Alexandria Evans, Residence Hall Director Jonathan Ross, Residential Life Director Erin Rossetti, student-athletes Katheryn Ebner and Patrick Kelsey, and Psychology and Human Services student Andrew Cochran.