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New PSU SAFE Program Replaces AlcoholEdu

Penn State certainly thinks it has an alcohol problem, and it’s hard to argue that they’ve been anything but earnest in addressing that concern.

Those of us who enrolled here in the past few years remember AlcoholEdu–and not fondly. The online program we had to complete during the summer before our freshman year was long, boring, time-consuming, and, as the Facebook group we all joined so eloquently stated, made us want to drink.

But the university has responded to student feedback, and spurned AlcoholEdu, choosing instead to cultivate its own program. Part of the customization of the new PSU SAFE program included relying on student leaders, like Dan Florencio, to educate his peers on the risks associated with drinking. Another focused on tailoring the lessons specifically to fit the needs of incoming Penn State students.

For instance, one situation somewhat unique to Penn State is the friction between “town and gown,” something Florencio could speak to as a longtime State College resident.

“Since I am both a student at Penn State and a permanent resident of State College, I was able to speak to that relation,” Florencio said. “I ask students to be mindful that they are living in a community that many non-students call ‘home’ and I ask them to treat the town as it is their own home as well.”

Florencio appears in videos, and his highly visible spot in PSU SAFE is an extension of work he’s done with the University Health Services–his appearances on posters, and in internet and newspaper advertisements–to discourage dangerous drinking behaviors. And as IFC President, Florencio has plenty of experience with the subject matter.

“Nearly all of my duties as IFC President are around educating my constituency into being safe and responsible. These efforts apply to all students so it is good to be helping out the students at-large along with my fellow Greeks,” Florencio said.

Students arriving for the second summer session–which began this week–were the first group to go through PSU SAFE, and according to the PSU Live press release, it’s been well received.

“So far, students have found it to be straightforward and have offered positive feedback. I’m optimistic about the potential outcomes from this effort,” said Damon Sims, Vice President for Student Affairs.

Florencio hoped that the program could have a positive outcome, perhaps better than its much-maligned predecessor.

“I think it’s important to relay this message because education and awareness is the only way that people will really understand the implications of their actions. Hopefully, students will take away from this a spirit of personal responsibility and that it will lead them to safer practices.”

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About the Author

Devon Edwards

Devon is a 2012 Penn State graduate and current law student at NYU. Devon joined Onward State in January of 2011, after a lengthy stay in the comment section. His likes include sabermetrics, squirrels, and longs walks on the beach, and his dislikes include spelunking, when you put your clothes in the dryer and they come out still kinda damp but also warm, and the religious right.

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