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Binge drinking working group prepares for the long haul

The group discussed the most effective way to attack high-risk drinking on UNC’s campus.

“We’re really looking for this group to try and help us better understand what’s going on here in terms of high-risk drinking behavior,” Dean said.

The group is made up of representatives from Student Wellness, the Department of Public Safety and the Department of Psychology, among others.

“This really is one of the best assemblages of expertise across campus,” said Jonathan Sauls, chairman of the committee and dean of students for student affairs.

The meeting began with Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Winston Crisp explaining what they want to see come out of this committee and why they want to take action.

“I think this is probably a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for us to finally get up that mountain that we call high-risk drinking,” Crisp said.

Sauls said UNC’s alcohol policy hasn’t been revised since the late 1990s.

After introductions, Sauls directed the conversation toward what members feel will be the most effective way to achieve a safer campus.

“Because we have some varied perspectives and some varied experiences, we really need broad input from everybody,” said Leslie Lerea, the associate dean for student affairs in the UNC Graduate School.

Members agreed the space should encourage discussion that is open and candid.

Sauls asked members to come to the next meeting with a baseline education on binge drinking based on reading he assigned.

Previous studies and discussions have looked into the dangers of binge drinking and strategies for a safer campus.

Committee members pointed out that the committee’s recommendations are not just limited to students but affect the entire campus community.

“Often when we talk about this, we default to talking about what students should and shouldn’t be doing when making these decisions, but really we’re talking about looking at the whole campus,” said Dean Blackburn, director of Student Wellness and associate dean of students.

The committee hopes to have its recommendations ready for the start of the 2015-16 academic year.

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