Alcorn joins efforts with communities to address underage drinking

Alcorn State University joined hands with more than 2,000 communities nationwide by participating in Alcohol Awareness Month and National Prevention Week, and by hosting a town hall meeting to address the issue of underage drinking.

“Our Town, Our Health, Our Future” was the event’s theme that resonated throughout the meeting, as three of Alcorn’s units—the Department of Human Sciences, the Upward Bound Program and the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment—worked to promote awareness of the issue of underage drinking, and led the discussion about preventive measures.

A survey of participants clearly indicated that underage drinking is a severe problem in the surrounding communities.

Dr. Martha Ravola, associate professor in the Department of Human Sciences, echoed the United States Surgeon General’s call to action to curb this disturbing trend. “Underage drinking is everybody’s problem and the solution is everybody’s responsibility,” said Ravola.

Students, parents and community representatives from the four counties surrounding Alcorn actively participated in the event, which featured panelists from law enforcement, the judicial sector, local businesses, education, parental organizations, and state mental health agencies.

During the discussion moderated by Natasha Sanders, counselor in the Office of Counseling and Testing at Alcorn, panelists actively shared their perspectives and provided statistical information on alcohol-related crimes and violence, as well as case studies on the legal, social, and medical repercussions of underage drinking.

Facts about genetic predisposition, varying effects by gender, and impact on decision-making and judgment were also discussed. Youth and parents were drawn into the discussion as panelists posed thought provoking questions and conducted role-plays. Participants expressed that the information received at the meeting would facilitate conversations about underage drinking, serve as a guide to plan future events and help to empower youth to become ambassadors of change.

For more information on underage drinking prevention, contact Dr. Ravola at [email protected] .