Funds should be used to raise awareness about substance abuse

The Collegian Staff

It doesn’t matter where you go to school, there will always be alcohol and drugs on campus. Recently, a committee made up of SDSU faculty has taken steps toward preventing these unavoidable aspects of college life. 

The Choices and Prevention committee has created a fund that takes money earned through fines from violations of campus’ alcohol and drug policies and puts it directly back into preventing these types of activities on our campus. 

The fund is a matching type fund that was put into place last fall. Student organizations, faculty members and other staff can apply to receive money from this fund to educate students about alcohol and drugs in the hope to prevent choices that may be regretted the next morning. 

Applicants must establish learning objectives, a way to evaluate the participants in their event and ultimately provide feedback to the Choices and Prevention committee about the success of the event.

While this seems like a good idea, how many students will benefit from the fund? So far, HEROH is the only group that has used the fund. They purchased a kit that simulates what it is like to be on drugs and another that simulates being drunk at night time. They cited the Wellness Fair as the big event where they would use the kits, but education as a result of these kits will continue since HEROH will allow groups to borrow them.

Although there are several criteria each applicant must meet, there is still some concern as to whether or not students are benefitting from these programs.    For groups such as HEROH, health promotion and drug and alcohol use are a big part of the organization’s background. They reach out to a large percentage of the population, but how effective are their presentations? Are students taking the presentations seriously? How can we evaluate that?

It is a good idea for the money to be put to a preventative use by groups such as HEROH, rather than not knowing where the money was going to. Now it has a stated purpose. However, there could be more specifications as to how the money is used and how students can directly benefit from the drug and alcohol prevention events. 

Although this is not an absolute waste of time and money, there could be more effective uses of the money and still have it be working for drug and alcohol use prevention. One thing that was brought up by a student was to bring popular entertainment directly to campus. This would allow more students to enjoy popular entertainment at a most-likely lower price since it is on campus. Knowing that there will probably be University Police Department officers at these shows could deter the use of alcohol and drugs before the show. 

Another ideal use for the fine money could be creating a committee to establish some required classes for the offenders of these policies in addition to potential court mandated punishment. 

Drugs and alcohol are an inevitable part of campus life. No matter what the University does, they won’t disappear completely. Drug and alcohol education is an important topic that SDSU administration should not ignore and some students will benefit from these programs. We at The Collegian feel like the University should come up with a solution that will be taken seriously by a larger portion of the student body.