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The Need for Student Participation in Prevention Policymaking and Programs

Both college presidents and student members of the Task Force reiterated the importance of involving students in rethinking a school's approach to high-risk student drinking. Students are not only the primary targets and beneficiaries of prevention programs, but also key contributors to their successful implementation (Mara, 2000; Presidents Leadership Group, 1997).

In their discussions about the practical issues involved in developing and sustaining workable policies, Task Force members described several areas where student participation not only improved a school's policy, but also increased campus-wide "ownership" of the prevention efforts emanating from it (Mara, 2000).

These include participation in (Mara, 2000):

  • Campus-based task forces to direct prevention program efforts and develop specific strategies for promoting change in student organizations;
  • Joint campus and community coalitions;
  • Reviews of proposed policies before they are finalized;
  • Judicial reviews by dormitory councils that hear cases of first alcohol infractions; and
  • Photo of four students sitting on lawn.Training of student residence hall staff to eliminate communication of mixed messages about alcohol use on campus and improve consistent enforcement of alcohol policies.

From the Task Force's perspective, inviting students to share in the development and implementation of the recommendations outlined above will help ensure that the strategies selected meet an institution's specific needs and receive the continued attention required for success.


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Historical document
Last reviewed: 9/23/2005

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