Committee focuses on drug and alcohol prevention


Alcohol and drug education will always be an issue on university campuses. At South Dakota State University, the Choices and Prevention committee has come up with a plan to help organizations on campus make educating students a little bit easier.

The Choices and Prevention committee has created a fund that student organizations, faculty or other staff members can receive money from to educate students about alcohol and drugs. According to Sam Jennings, the dean of students, the fund is a matching fund in which applicants can receive up to $500. The Choices and Prevention committee hopes that applicants will raise money from another source to go along with the money received from this new program, “so they can put a good amount of money toward a good educational program,” Jennings said.

Money for the fund comes from fines paid by students for alcohol and drug offenses on campus. Jennings said that it can amount to around $200, but is progressive and first-time offenders don’t usually pay a full $200.

“The fund is directly a result of the students who violate the alcohol and drug policy and were fined accordingly,” Jennings said. “We’re hoping to take the student fines and put them right back into education for the students.”

Applicants must meet a few requirements to receive money from this program. The first is there must be learning objectives associated with the program that the applicant is wanting money for. Also the applying group must evaluate how well the students learn what is supposed to be learned, and give feedback to the Choices and Prevention committee.

“There are expectations outlined on the application itself, which means it has to educate students on alcohol and drug topics, usually prevention not just the effects on the body, although that is an important piece,” Jennings said. “Usually we’re looking at prevention as well.”

Although the fund is fairly new, having been started last fall, it has been used a few times. One of those times was by the HEROH organization. HEROH used money from the fund to help purchase a kit that simulates what it is like to be on drugs and another that simulates being drunk at night time.

HEROH used these kits at the Wellness Fair. The club set up obstacle courses for participants to go through to show them that things don’t always go as planned when they are in situations where decisions are altered by drugs and alcohol. These kits are also available to be borrowed from HEROH.

“We do welcome other 

student organizations or Residential Life or any other student group that would like to come in and rent those out so they can use them for activities as well,” said Mariah Weber, the advisor of HEROH. “We get a lot of requests for the drunk goggles that we already have and these are just two additional kits that we are offering. So if like somebody from Residential Life is saying, ‘Hey, a CA wants to put on a program, can we borrow these Drugged and Distorted kits,’ absolutely. We don’t charge for them. They just come over here and check them out and then they bring them back when they are done.”

Jennings did not cite any new things to cause reason for the alcohol and drug education fund, but he did say that university campuses and alcohol and drug education would always be connected.

“There was no new thing, but when you look at university campus and alcohol and drug education, we’re never ever going to get to a place where we feel like, ‘Hey, we’re doing perfect, there aren’t any issues,’ so we always need to educate and always want to be proactive,” Jennings said. “This is one more angle to try to help students make choices in advance, rather than try to respond to a situation they wish they hadn’t gotten into.”

 Logan Meyer, a sophomore consumer affairs major, thinks the funding program is a bad idea and that students will not take the education programs seriously enough for it to be worthwhile use of the money.

“Using the money to bring popular entertainment to campus to prevent the use of alcohol and drugs would be a better use of the money than trying to fight a fire they can’t contain,” Meyer said.

Those who are interested in applying for money from the fund can find an application posted on the CAPsdstate Facebook page, or they may contact Virginia James, the chairperson for the Choices and Prevention committee.