A team of Sewanee students, faculty and staff members recently joined similar teams from 32 institutions from across the country in Washington, D.C., to learn from one another about improving the health of their students by reducing harms associated with high-risk drinking. The session was the third face-to-face meeting of this unique “learning collaborative” led by the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice at Dartmouth College.
Sewanee’s representatives presented their own progress in harm reduction and helping students make safer choices around alcohol use at the three-day session, including a presentation to fellow schools about their peer-intervention team, the FOG. Strategy sessions had campus improvement teams sharing approaches to pre-gaming, off-campus parties, and other high-risk behaviors that the National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism estimates kill as many as 1,800 college students a year and contribute to thousands of injuries, sexual assaults, and academic failures.
Sewanee has been a member of the National College Health Improvement Project (NCHIP) since 2011. Since joining the collaborative, Sewanee has seen several positive improvements in student health and safety across campus, including the development of powerful educational and intervention programs that have successfully raised student awareness of the personal harms that can arise from high-risk drinking.
Vice-Chancellor John McCardell says that Sewanee’s involvement in the NCHIP collaborative is critical to the success of the institution. “Like all institutions, Sewanee struggles with the reality of the presence of alcohol in the lives of young adults. As Daniel Webster once wisely stated, ‘Liberty can exist only in proportion to wholesome restraint.’ Our participation in NCHIP has enabled us to develop new strategies for achieving that balance and to learn from our colleagues those things that are likely to emerge, on many of our campuses, as best practices,” McCardell said.
Jim Yong Kim, M.D., created NCHIP in 2010 during his tenure as Dartmouth’s president. Kim recently left Dartmouth to serve as the president of the World Bank, but attended the event in the nation’s capital to reaffirm his commitment to the effort, as did current Dartmouth president Carol Folt.