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OAPE to host freshman alcohol outreach talks

The Office of Alcohol Policy and Education (OAPE) will host an alcohol education outreach talk in all freshman dorms by the end of the third week of fall quarter. The presentations, intended to inform new students about healthy drinking habits, will emphasize the dangers of hard alcohol abuse.

“Nearly every student who went to the emergency room due to alcohol poisoning last year drank too many shots of hard alcohol,” wrote Sam Saenz, OAPE outreach and internship coordinator, in an email to The Daily.

Saenz, along with Outreach Education Coordinator Jarreau Bowen, will be presenting at freshman dorm meetings. Saenz, Bowen, OAPE and resident fellows (RFs) are hosting these presentations to support residential staff and students.

“Our primary role is really similar to years past: to support the student staff in their assessment and direct support role with residents,” said Geoff Baker, Larkin RF, who hosted an alcohol education outreach talk on Monday. “Our secondary role is to engage, as equals, staff members in the norming expectations that keep residential education on the minds of those involved in it.”

In an email sent to all RFs, Associate Dean of Student Affairs Ralph Castro emphasized the role of RFs in setting the tone for the year.

“This is your opportunity to set norms for your community,” he wrote. “Students appreciate having their RFs do this early in the year and it has very positive effects on the drinking trajectory for your community.”

According to Baker, the conversation has already been held in many freshman dorms.

“We’ve had, in our first house meeting, exactly that [conversation],” he said. “Alcohol education…has to be spiraled, engaged in different ways over time. It starts with the first house meeting and continues with events [throughout the year].”

Castro also told RFs that “the University is strongly trying to prevent students from engaging in high-risk drinking behaviors.”

Saenz spoke about the importance of the culture of drinking at Stanford.

“We first need to support a culture where drinking is not the only way to have fun,” he said. “We also need to encourage students who do drink to stay classy – drinking within the limits and within the social zone – through our education efforts.”

Saenz is optimistic that these alcohol education outreach presentations are making a positive impact on freshman drinking habits.

“Freshmen appear to respond positively and learn something useful through our outreach,” he said. “Post-outreach surveys from last year show that 87.2 percent of attendees agree that [the outreach presentation] was engaging [and] 82.1 percent of respondents learned something new.”

One such resident was Matthew Callahan ’16.

“I thought [the presentation] did a good job showing why spacing out drinks or drinking beer is better than downing multiple shots,” Callahan, a Larkin resident, said “I think [Stanford has] a good policy, having the open door and not clamping down.”

About Edward Ngai

Edward Ngai is a senior staff writer at The Stanford Daily. Previously, he has worked as a news desk editor, staff development editor and columnist. He was president and editor-in-chief of The Daily for Vol. 244 (2013-2014). Edward is a junior from Vancouver, Canada studying political science. This summer, he is the Daniel Pearl Memorial Intern at the Wall Street Journal.