Alumni Outlook Magazine


The cover story for this issue of Outlook concerns the problem of high risk alcohol use by our students. I want to explain my position on this issue.

UW-Stout overall has a very fine and dedicated student body — students who demonstrate time and time again that they are fully engaged in their disciplines as they prepare for meaningful careers. Yet a small percent engage in high risk alcohol use that endangers them and others, and that small group poses our greatest challenge to creating a safe environment for everyone.

I work with excellent professionals on this issue, and while we can see progress, I know there is a great deal more to be accomplished. The article in Outlook demonstrates our commitment to this effort:
  • Education through our Smart+Healthy program. This program stresses to our students that it is OK to either not drink at all or to drink in moderation. It uses social-norming techniques to drive home these and other important messages. We are seeing some promising results from this educational program.
  • Stricter enforcement of alcohol-related laws and policies. Our Dean of Students Office has ramped up its effort to sanction students, up to and including expulsion from school, to ensure that our student body is comprised of those who really want to be at UW-Stout and can conform to our policies and laws.
  • Working with external stakeholders. We are not doing this alone. We are part of the Dunn County Alcohol Task Force and work with other concerned community members. We also are working with sympathetic members of the Menomonie City Council to enact ordinances that will give us more tools — including a public intoxication ordinance — to address high risk alcohol use.
My intention is not to eliminate drinking among our students. However, it is imperative that we bring down the incidence of excessive drinking that leads our students to endanger themselves or others, or prevents them from realizing their full potential as students and human beings.

As usual, let me know what you think of our efforts or if you have suggestions on what improvements we could make.