Addressing alcohol as one

Oct 132005
Authors: Margaret Canty

The inaugural national Alcohol in College Towns Conference (ACT Now) will take place this weekend at CSU, and will feature speakers and panelists from several states, including a keynote address by James Surowiecki, a financial columnist for "The New Yorker" and author of "The Wisdom of The Crowds."

"The conference is a way for communities to come together as a team to look at issues involving alcohol and for us to strategize on ways we're being effective with alcohol issues, the gaps we still need to fill and gain community perspective instead of just campus perspective," said Pam McCracken, the director for alcohol and drug prevention education and services.

Student body president Courtney Healey will be a facilitator on the student panel.

"We're in a college town and admittedly have problems with alcohol that need to be addressed as a community, not just a university," she said.

Among the speakers and panelists attending will be Corkie Odell from the Odell Brewing Company, Dr. Paul Oliaro from California State University-Fresno, Julie Rosenbluth from Phoenix House in New York, Colorado State Representative Angie Paccione, Bill Young from Coors and others.

Kimberly Sorensen, a university relations intern, said the conference will include several workshops and breakout sessions on a variety of alcohol-related issues and a discussion on alcohol awareness and use on college campuses led by CSU President Larry Penley.

"(The conference is being held) because of the incidents and problems CSU had with alcohol last year," Sorensen said. "We felt we wanted to take a stand and as a community joined forces to address the issue of alcohol, policy awareness and how to prevent alcohol abuse among students."

Penley will present some of the findings, recommendations and solutions from studies performed by the Alcohol Task Force, a group created in response to the alcohol abuse problems CSU dealt with last year.

"It's important we work together and students know the university is addressing these issues," Sorensen said.

McCracken, who describes the conference as a good way for the community and campus to meet "face to face" and assess things that need change, expects about 100 participants.

The conference costs $145 for individuals and $100 for students to cover room and meal expenses, but the keynote address is free and open to the public and a book signing will follow. For more information and registration, visit

Healey encourages students to attend.

"We're taking a forefront on alcohol-related issues," she said. "We want to be leaders for other communities."


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