Sober 24-7: Grant Competition to Prevent High-Risk Drinking or Violent Behavior among College Students
Kathryn T. Hutchinson and Ruth DeRosa, Department of Student Wellness
Abstract: In June 2008, St. John’s Department of Student Wellness secured a multi-year competitive grant from the US Department of Education for the “Prevention of High-Risk Drinking & Violent Behavior.” This federal grant has provided $428,684 in funding over the course of two years, which has been used to fund the “Sober 24/7” program, aimed to reduce high-risk drinking among first-year students.
Led by project investigator Kathryn Hutchinson, Ph.D., Executive Director of Student Wellness at St. John’s, the program has used a layered approach to education and prevention of high-risk behavior, while teaching the lifelong benefits of controlling alcohol consumption.
Through the “Sober 24/7” program, students have engaged in an on-line prevention program (AlcoholEdu) prior to matriculation at St. John's, which was followed by prevention programming at various times throughout their first semester on campus. The addition of peer-educators is a component of the program that distinguishes it from others around the country. Peer-educators work with professors to develop media materials for the campaign. The “Sober 24/7” program also involved parents of incoming students; faculty who teach first-year students; administrators across the St. John’s community and local community members.
The program’s goals are to reduce high-risk drinking among first-year students by 5% and the negative consequences associated with such behaviors by 10%. The outcome data has far exceeded these goals. As a result, the Department of Student Wellness was recognized by NASPA with a silver medal for its achievements under this grant-funded program and was awarded Highest Honors by Outside The Classroom, in the 2009-2010 Prevention Excellence Award.