College & University Presidents Serve as Alcohol & Drug Prevention Leaders
The Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention announced new members of the Presidents Leadership Group (PLG), a body of higher education presidents and chancellors who have made student substance abuse prevention a priority on their campuses. Nine new members joined the PLG, representing a diverse group of campuses from around the nation. The expansion of the PLG marks the continued commitment by the Higher Education Center to highlight and promote the critical role of presidential leadership in collegiate alcohol and other drug prevention.
With support from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the PLG was formed to bring national attention to alcohol and other drug issues on college and university campuses. Representing a broad array of institutions of higher education, officials from 45 campuses from 27 states now participate in this effort. The expanded PLG will build on the leadership efforts of its 36 previous members. Officials serve as prevention spokespersons, change agents, and models for other presidents; they also support statewide and regional alcohol and other drug prevention efforts, adopting leadership roles in existing regional initiatives or taking the lead in states where statewide efforts have not yet taken hold.
“Presidents are in a unique position to invigorate and influence prevention efforts on their campuses and in their communities,” said Higher Education Center Director William DeJong. “We look forward to working with the new members of the PLG as they continue to demonstrate how presidents may best serve this critical role, drawing upon campus resources and enlisting both campus and community constituencies in prevention.”
The new PLG members were chosen based on their previous alcohol and other drug prevention efforts as well as their future plans for leadership in this area. The rigorous selection process required applicants to submit personal statements, letters of support from people within their institution and their surrounding community, and their campus’s biennial review reports. “Substance abuse issues plague our institutions and prevent our students from maximizing their intellectual, emotional, and social potential,” said Donna Shalala, president of the University of Miami and former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services. “Given this knowledge, we have a responsibility to do the best and most we can do to prevent further negative consequences. I welcome the opportunity to continue in my commitment toward public health by serving in the Presidents Leadership Group.”
The Higher Education Center formed the original PLG in 1997. That year, the six-member PLG published an alcohol prevention report urging college presidents to become more active leaders on this issue on their campuses and in their surrounding communities. Copies of the PLG report, “Be Vocal, Be Visible, Be Visionary: Recommendations for College and University Presidents on Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention,” and its companion video can be obtained by visiting the Higher Education Center’s Web site at www.edc.org/hec/plg/products.html.
The Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention serves as the national resource center for institutions of higher education concerned with reducing alcohol and other drug use. Funded by the U.S. Department of Education, with supplemental funding from The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Higher Education Center offers training, technical assistance, publications, and other information to assist those who want to take an active part in changing the environment in which students make decisions about alcohol and other drug use. The Higher Education Center is based at Education Development Center, Inc., an internationally known nonprofit educational research and development organization located in Newton, Massachusetts.#
For additional information, contact the Higher Education Center at 800-676-1730 or HigherEdCtr@edc.org.