IUP Receives Funding from PLCB to Address Underage and Dangerous Drinking, Retention of Black and Brown Students

Posted on 8/9/22 8:17 AM

Indiana University of Pennsylvania has received $40,000 from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board’s Reducing Underage Drinking and Dangerous Drinking Grant program.

The grant, which funds programming for the 2022–23 and 2023–24 academic years, has a focus on both reducing underage and dangerous drinking and increasing retention of Black and Brown students while welcoming all students to participate in grant project related events and activities.

Ann Sesti, director of the Office of Student Wellness and Engagement, authored the grant application and will be directing the initiatives through the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drugs program within that office.

IUP has been successful in securing more than $200,000 in funding from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board over the past decade to address underage and dangerous drinking.

Grant funding will be used to create the following initiatives:

  • Funding for student peer mentors, trained in motivational interviewing, brief screening and intervention, and alcohol facts, and developing activities for alcohol-free Friday events.
  • Funding for speakers and presenters to promote an alcohol-free message in a number of large-scale events each semester.
  • Funding to present at a national student affairs administration in higher education conference, intended to gather information on best practices from peer institutions.

Initiatives funded by the grant specifically focused on retention of Black and Brown students include gathering information from this group through Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education Alcohol Coalition Alcohol Survey, which has been implemented at IUP over the past several years, and in year two, establishing a peer network program to provide educational information about alcohol and offer screenings and referral for intervention services geared toward Black and Brown students, which includes a graduate student coordinator and undergraduate peer education.

Funding also will be used to develop weekly alcohol-free Friday night meet-ups geared toward Black and Brown students to build community, meet other students, and make connections with faculty and staff, while learning about living an alcohol-free lifestyle while participating in alcohol-free activities. Black and Brown IUP alumni will be invited to campus to share their experiences and successes in leading an alcohol-free lifestyle.

IUP also will host the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board’s Alcohol Awarding for Student Leaders and Influencers Training to learn about best practices from other professionals.

Sesti notes in her grant application that “there is a significant gap in persistence and retention rates between Black and White students,” and while IUP has introduced a number of programs and initiatives to help address retention and persistence of Black and Brown students, programs funded by this grant will “provide culturally relative alcohol interventions that encourage, support and sustain an alcohol-free lifestyle and reduction in alcohol misuse that contributes to poor academic performance and attrition rates.”

"This grant is a great opportunity to provide educational information in fun and creative ways,” Sesti said. “Rather than just being given information about how to lead a healthy lifestyle, students will have the opportunity to interact and learn from IUP grads who are leading successful lives."