Annual review allows for more funds towards awareness programs

Abbey Haldeman, Assistant News Editor

Every two years, staff from Campus Counseling, the Health and Wellness Center and Residence Life sit down together and participate in an event known as the Biennial Review.

“It provides us the opportunity to take a look at what we accomplished in terms of prevention programs with respect to drugs and alcohol,” Dean of Student Affairs, Mark Allen said.

With the review, they are able to find what is working and what isn’t working, in regards to drug and alcohol prevention. When that is done, changes are made to events to allow for improvement in those areas lacking.

One of the most significant changes made this year during the Biennial Review was a switch in the online alcohol assessment course, which is mandatory for all incoming students.

Since 2006, all incoming freshman students have been required to pass an online drug, alcohol and sexual assault course. In the past, students had been using, but now Wilkes students will be using a program known as My Student Body.

“We felt it fulfilled the same requirements in terms of passing along important information with respect to alcohol, drugs and sexual assault, but it did so in a less expensive way so we were able to, through the savings that we had, reinvest those funds in other sorts of alcohol awareness initiatives so a chance to expand programs a little bit more,” Allen said.

Alcohol Awareness Week, which took place during the week of Oct. 15, is a time when the money saved by the switch, can help expand events on campus.

National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week is celebrated by college and university campus’ everywhere. It began here at Wilkes around 1988 with and event known as the “dry run,” which today is the “Alcohol Awareness Walk.”

Gail Holby, coordinator of health and wellness center and the BAACCHUS club, a national club, at Wilkes coordinated events for the entire week. Some of these events included, guest speakers, a texting and DUI/DWI car simulator and the traditional Alcohol Awareness Walk.

“Our 2012 Alcohol Awareness Walk was one of the best attended walks in our history,” Holby said. “We estimated that approximately 500 students, staff, and faculty were part of the important gathering.”

Both Holby and Allen believe that Wilkes works hard to inform its students about the risk of drugs and alcohol. By starting early, at Welcome Weekend holding presentations on sexual assault and by making it mandatory for incoming students to take the required alcohol course.

Allen also believes that the amount of clubs on campus allows for students to have things that preoccupy them.

Allen said, “it’s providing an environment so students can definitely involve themselves in a healthier environment.”

With the Biennial Review and the National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week, students will be educated and informed as to the affects of drugs and alcohol and efforts the university makes to help students stay active and out of the influences.

The staff involved in the review and those who coordinated the week will continue to work together to find ways to make changes for the better.

“It is always good to sit down and reflect on what is working and what is not working and try to improve upon things for the years that follow,” Allen said.