Alcohol education for college athletes

NCAA chose colleges nationwide to receive a grant for this program.

BLOOMSBURG, COLUMBIA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU)- 13 colleges nationwide have been awarded a grant to educate college athletes about alcohol use and abuse.

Bloomsburg University was among the institutions chosen by NCAA. The university is looking to expand their education on alcohol.  By targeting athletes, they're hoping other students will learn from them.

"There are no freshman, sophomore, junior, senior, we're one big team," says student athlete Abby Sauder.

More than 500 student athletes are active in 19 collegiate sport programs at the university. Some field hockey players told Eyewitness News these athletes are held to a higher standard.

"We're not only representing Bloomsburg University in academics, but also in athletics," says Tesa Hoffman.

The university agrees, calling its athletes "leaders." The NCAA agrees and awarded the school with a three year, $30,000 NCAA Choices Grant in an effort to reduce alcohol abuse across campuses, starting with those in extra curricular activities.

"Really to use those individuals as a peer to peer opportunity to help improve drinking norms," says Dr. Michael McFarland, BU Director of Athletics.

"I think the more knowledge people have about it, it will really benefit people," says Sauder.

The new initiative will branch off BU's existing alcohol and other drug prevention programs. Focusing on good choices, reducing underage drinking, ramifications of alcohol use, sexual misconduct, harassment, or violence due to alcohol.

"We'll support that and the hopes are over the three years that it will take effect the campus culture and effect all students," says Kristi Hammaker, BU Health and Wellness educator.

"It's such a family atmosphere, even our coach is like we are on family and always a Husky," says student athlete Cheyenne Ott.

The first opportunity for student athletes to participate in the new program is September 17th. It's not mandatory, but the university hopes most will attend.

The university applied for the grant in February because they thought it would be a great way to have more opportunity for student success.


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