Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Theory of Prevention- By Eric S. Davidson- IHEC Director

Our jobs are not specifically to prevent or reduce college student AOTD use/abuse. Our jobs are to enhance student learning and learning environments and contribute to the retention and graduation of students. We do this through prevention, intervention, and treatment. If we can show logical connections, or even better empirical evidence showing this, we will gain more support.

2. There are never enough resources, staffing, and time to address prevention in a way that we believe is adequate. We have to accept this and think innovatively about ways to enhance the resources we have, be it through collaborations with other entities, supervision of interns and graduate assistants, seeking grant funding, etc.

3. There is a difference between being active and effective. You can deliver hundreds of one-hour presentations, staff several hours at information tables and not make any difference in the rates of drinking and negative consequences on your campus. People may even applaud these process indication numbers you submit in your reports. However, you may create a much larger impact providing a few sessions of BASICS to one student, or working with a campus/community coalition to require local establishments to have all employees responsible beverage service certified.

4. Prevention is highly relational and political. You will be surprised how many departments and individuals will view your work as intrusive, disruptive to their work flow/operations, and contradictory to their activities and programs. Seeking buy-in from others and openly communicating intentions prior to taking action may help reduce potential conflict.

5. Begin to understand the big picture you live in. Everyone thinks their area is the most important and is advocating similarly for their areas, as you do prevention. Non-response by your superiors and senior level administrators does not imply that prevention is not a priority. These individuals have many areas to oversee, which often leads to conflict between competing demands. Other issues may have to take a higher priority as a result of urgency and crisis.

6. Alcohol prevention (mental health) should be owned by the entire campus, not just one individual or office. Your value to campus, and the effectiveness of your campus to address AOTD issues, will be enhanced when others work collaboratively. See yourself as a community organizer or coordinator.

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