The University of South Carolina Substance Abuse Prevention and Education (SAPE) office received a $9,996 grant from the International Town Gown Association through the Molson Coors Great Plays Program. This funding will be used to promote risk reduction strategies, substance education and alcohol-free programming to promote safety and health for students.
“Risk reduction strategies are shown in research to lower the risk of negative consequences related to substance use,” says SAPE Director Aimee Hourigan. “Having a sober driver is a common strategy to avoid an accident or DUI, but there are plenty of other examples.”
With support from the grant, SAPE is partnering with the Residence Hall Association to provide safe programming for students. Late-night events will be held in accessible areas such as campus and residential neighborhoods. By hosting alternatives to drinking alcohol, they hope it will increase student safety and well-being.
“We know it has been difficult for some new students to connect and build relationships in the midst of the pandemic,” Hourigan says, “so we are hoping to provide some opportunities for connection and community.”
The grant also will fund a marketing campaign focused on promoting risk reduction strategies and increasing awareness of the Good Samaritan policy. The Good Samaritan policy was created to encourage students who might be violating the Student Code of Conduct to get help for someone who might be experiencing an alcohol or drug overdose. Students who call for help for someone who needs medical attention will not receive disciplinary sanctions, and the students who are experiencing a medical emergency will receive educational interventions instead of disciplinary fines.
SAPE’s mission is to collaborate to build a safe, healthy learning environment that supports the personal development and academic success of students by promoting low-risk substance use behaviors through a comprehensive range of evidence-based prevention, environmental strategies, early intervention and recovery support services.