Casteen first recipient
of national award for alcohol and other drug
by Ian Bradshaw
By Virginia E. Carter
U.S. Department of Educations Higher Education Center for
Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention plans to present an award today
to President John
T. Casteen III at the Board
of Visitors meeting.
is the first recipient of the Presidents Leadership Group Award,
which recognizes college and university presidents who have taken
an active role in addressing alcohol and other drug problems on
their campus and in the larger community.
impact of heavy student alcohol use is felt in all aspects of
college life, said William DeJong, director of the center.
Even so, many top college administrators do not take effective
action to address this problem. In contrast, President Casteen
stands out in his steadfast commitment to alcohol and other drug
commissioned University-wide alcohol task forces in 1991 and in
1997, and formed a permanent University alcohol advisory committee
in 1998. On a state and national level, he has served on the Virginia
Governors Task Force on Substance Abuse and Sexual Assault
on College Campuses, the Virginia Attorney Generals Task
Force on Drinking by College Students, and the Task Force on College
Drinking established by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse
is an honor to receive this award on behalf of the University,
Casteen said. Addressing student
alcohol abuse requires many individuals working together in multiple
areas. Our common interest is the health and well-being of the
young people who come to the University to study and to prepare
for the future. I am grateful to the students, administrators,
faculty, parents, and other members of the University community
whose efforts have contributed to any success we might claim.
The issue remains an important one, and our work will continue.
Casteens leadership, the Universitys comprehensive
approach to prevention has helped in developing and adopting several
new programs and policies. Overall, the University has improved
coordination of prevention, intervention and enforcement activities,
more students are involved in prevention, and the number and variety
of activities and events has increased.
encouraging are data from two major surveys the University conducts
each year, said Susan Bruce, director of the Universitys
Center for Alcohol and Substance Education. Similar to national
indicators, our statistics show that more U.Va. students are choosing
to abstain from drinking alcohol. We continue to see high-risk
drinking among students, but the rates have leveled off and are
beginning to decline after several years of increases.
data from our U.S. Department of Education grant show declines
in high-risk drinking rates and negative consequences by fraternity
and sorority members who participated in a small group social
norms presentation, said Bruce. We are encouraged
by these results, and are continually working to improve program
coordination. The culture of student self-governance at the University
has been a big part of our success, in that it ensures our students
are significantly engaged in the decision-making process.
collaborate with professionals in the Department of Student Health,
which developed the Universitys social norms marketing program.
on focus groups and survey data, we design materials that capture
students attention and show them the facts that most
of their peers on Grounds either do not drink or drink in moderate
amounts, said Dr. James C. Turner, director of student health.
Along with other initiatives, we believe we are making progress
in encouraging students to choose healthy behaviors because we
have observed a steady decline in serious health consequences
over the last several years.