In recognition of his national leadership on the issue of binge drinking among college students, Frostburg State University President Jonathan Gibralter has been invited to join the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism’s 10-member College Presidents Working Group, a group charged with bringing significant attention to this issue and making relevant recommendations to college administrators across the country.
“This Working Group is an important part of NIAAA’s continued commitment to college drinking research,” said Dr. Kenneth R. Warren, acting director of NIAAA, in a letter to Gibralter. “As research continues to yield new information, the goal of the Working Group is to share it with colleges and universities in accessible and practical ways to facilitate its use as a foundation for prevention and intervention activities.”
“I am honored to be a member of this group of distinguished leaders on this issue and am looking forward to sharing ideas on how we can have an impact on the college drinking culture,” Gibralter said. “It is very encouraging to be surrounded by university presidents who recognize how important their leadership is. It empowers those in their institutions who are fighting to make a difference in this problem that steals the lives of thousands of college students.”
The group includes presidents who have been outspoken about the dangers of binge drinking among college students, including all three recipients of the Presidential Leadership Award given by Outside the Classroom and other higher education organizations, recognizing success in promoting a vibrant intellectual and social climate that deemphasizes the role of alcohol. Gibralter was the first recipient in 2008, followed by University of Pittsburgh Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg and University of Wyoming President Thomas Buchanan.
In addition, five of the schools represented by the Working Group’s presidents, including Frostburg, are part of the Learning Collaborative on High-Risk Drinking that was formed earlier this month and based at Dartmouth College. The Collaborative will use comprehensive evaluation and measurement techniques to identify and implement the most effective ways to confront the persistent problem of high-risk drinking and lessen the harm it causes.
The Working Group is co-chaired by Dr. Jim Yong Kim, president of Dartmouth College, and Dr. Robert Carothers, immediate past president of the University of Rhode Island, who was a key participant on NIAAA’s original Task Force on College Drinking, which created the report “A Call to Action: Changing the Culture of Drinking at U.S. Colleges” in 2002. This Working Group, which met for the first time today (May 25), will build on that Task Force’s foundation.
This recognition follows a meeting in February in which a team of federal officials from NIAAA and the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy requested a meeting in Frostburg to learn more about FSU’s broad-based campus efforts that have led to a 27 percent decrease in binge drinking among Frostburg students since 1997.
Situated in the mountains of Allegany County, Frostburg State University is one of the 12 institutions of the University System of Maryland. FSU is a comprehensive, residential regional university and serves as an educational and cultural center for Western Maryland. For more information, visit www.frostburg.edu or facebook.com/frostburgstateuniversity.