Mercyhurst College has received a one-year grant from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board (PLCB).
This grant will assist Mercyhurst in continuing many programs, including the Counseling Center’s peer education program, Mercyhurst Mentors, which is now a Recognized Student Club/Organization.
Executive Director of Wellness Judy Smith, Ph.D.; Counselor Renee Patton, Ph.D.; Assistant Director of Residence Life and Student Conduct Sam Barlekoff; Director of the Center for Student Engagement and Leadership Development Sarah Allen; Police and Safety Corporal Patrick Smith; and Assistant Athletic Director Sarah Headley all had a role in applying for the PLCB grant.
Mercyhurst Mentors (M&M’s) is a sub-group of the program CHOICES, which began as part of a previous grant. As Smith explained, the original grant “was designed to assist students in making good choices about drinking behavior.”
M&M’s does a variety of things, including training and certifying students to help with alcohol education events and speakers, putting together alcohol awareness week and speaking at local schools about alcohol and college.
The PLCB grant will go toward funding alcohol education, assessment, prevention and peer educator training. In addition to M&M’s, the programs the grant funds include increased Police and Safety presence on days when there is an increase in alcohol usage and bringing in a trainer on BASICS, which is an interview process to help students assess their drinking behaviors as well as encourage reflection and good decision making.
Freshman Brianna Carle is in favor of the grant and the programs for which the money will be used.
“It seems a lot of underage students take drinking a little to the extreme and should become more aware of the consequences,” said Carle. “I’m not sure how much good it’ll do, but it might make an impact on some…I think it’s kind of an issue that people overlook and should be brought to the table more.”
Carle continued to explain that she is not against drinking, just reckless drinking and taking it too far.
Some students are unsure about the effectiveness of these types of programs.
“I think [the program] is a joke and ineffective,” said senior Jim Gallagher. “It’s college, and kids are going to drink. As for Police and Safety, don’t get caught, go off campus or don’t drink.”
Freshman Shelby Wanik agreed with this.
“It’s college,” said Wanik. “There is going to be alcohol everywhere you go.”
Smith explained that the funding will go toward targeting underclassmen and showing them that the social perception of alcohol use is not accurate.
“Even if we help a little bit, it’s a good thing,” Smith said.
The programs and other various changes have already started to be put into effect and will continue over the next year.