A coalition of University of Nevada, Reno departments and organizations is working to deter underage and binge drinking by providing more late-night, positive activities as alternatives for students. The coalition’s efforts are supported by an Enforcing the Underage Drinking Laws (EUDL) Program grant totaling $900,000 over three years.
“We would really like to see even more students turning up at the Joe Crowley Student Union and making it a place to hang out and enjoy their free time,” said Leah Ortiz-Butterworth, University coordinator for Alcohol Prevention Grant Programs in the Office of Student Conduct. “We are telling them not to drink so we need to give them other options. If we can help provide alternatives and get them to choose these alternatives, everyone wins.”
Several new late-night options are available to students this semester. Starbucks in the Joe Crowley Student Union has extended hours on Fridays and Saturdays until midnight, offering students opportunities to play complimentary board games, do yoga, grab a drink and some treats, and enjoy live music during the Spring Music Series. Rock Band and CrossFit video-game competitions, karaoke sing-offs, Salsa dance nights and other evening events have become popular, held inside Cantina del Lobo every Saturday starting at 7:30 p.m. The continuation of the Thursday Night Movie Series offers two free show times in the Student Union Theatre, 6 and 9 p.m., with new popular movies including “Where the Wild Things Are,” “This is It,” “New Moon” and others. Free popcorn, cotton candy and soda are offered.
“We’ve already seen an increase in student participation and attendance at some late-night activities,” Ortiz-Butterworth said. “Nearly 200 students attended one of our first events, the Salsa lessons always have a big turnout, and the movies series continues to be a hit. We’re thrilled to see more students on campus in the evenings.”
The EUDL Program grant, presented through the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, was awarded to the University and Join Together Northern Nevada, a community coalition that shares the goal to deter underage drinking. University departments and organizations involved with the initiative are the Joe Crowley Student Union retail services and food vendors; Associated Student of the University of Nevada (ASUN) clubs and organizations; ASUN Flipside; Residential Life, Housing and Food Services; University Police Services; Panhellenic Council; the Interfraternity Council; Center for Student Cultural Diversity; Wolf Pack Athletics; Lombardi Recreation Center; and Office of Student Conduct.
The University coalition members recognize that sharing financial, marketing, facilities and manpower resources better positions the initiative for success. The coalition plans to develop or sponsor 15 new late-night events in the 2010 spring semester and increase participation at activities by 10 percent.
According to the Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse and Violence Prevention, “Many college and university students have a great deal of unstructured time, few responsibilities, and limited alcohol-free options. Too often, high-risk drinking becomes the default activity. Alcohol-free options, therefore, such as frequent late-night events, expanded student center and athletics facility hours, and public service opportunities, are critical to successful environmental management.”
Nevada students can now find alternative weekend events on a new Web site by going to Campus Underground.