The U.S. Department of Education has rewarded the University's recent overhaul of its alcohol policy with the award of a one-year, $100,000 grant to devote to further developing Penn's alcohol policy, officials announced this summer. Penn was one of six schools nationwide identified as a model program in the grant competition. "This grant is the Department of Education saying, "You guys have done good work, and we reward you,'" University Alcohol Policy Coordinator Stephanie Ives said. As a result of the award, the Department of Education will promote Penn as "someone other schools should call for advice," Ives said. The $100,236 grant will help Penn bring in an official to evaluate the alcohol policy in its current state by talking with faculty, staff and students about how drinking habits and perceptions about alcohol have changed since the implementation of the policy. And with this funding Penn will also inform other schools about their policy, Ives said, through conferences and other educational initiatives. University Police Chief Maureen Rush said the grant demonstrates that Penn's inclusive, cooperative approach toward the development of the policy was the correct path to take. "I think we're on the right track with the cooperation across all levels" including the police, alcohol education staff, the administration and students, Rush said. "It just goes to show that the efforts of Penn have been recognized." The University revamped the alcohol policy after a provost-led Working Group on Alcohol Abuse spent five weeks in discussions to develop the plan, which was implemented last fall. The overhaul came in the wake of the spring 1999 death of 26-year-old alumnus Michael Tobin, who fell down a flight of stairs to his death after a night of drinking with his Phi Gamma Delta fraternity brothers. "In many ways, [the award] lends credence to the fact that Penn has really worked hard to change the culture of drinking at school," Ives said. "Penn really came together. This is recognition for many years of work at Penn," Ives added. The current policy emphasizes counseling and alcohol-related education, as well as offering many social alternatives to drinking, to help change the environment in which students drinkComments powered by Disqus
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