NCAA Grant to Boost Campus Peer Counseling Group

by Howard W. Hewitt

April 26, 2007

Two students’ dreams are now realized by an NCAA Choices Alcohol Education grant. The grant was awarded Wabash College and — coupled with matching campus funds — will be used for peer education about alcohol use.

Chris Ogden ’06 and Brandon Clifton ’06 began "Students and Wabash Athlete Responsibility Mentors" (SWARM) four years ago. The concept was to have at least one member of each athletic team and living unit join forces to promote good decisions.

This year students came together wanting to increase the group’s visibility on campus. The WAR (Wabash men Act Responsible) Council is linked directly with the offices of the Dean of Students, Student Health, and Student Activities.

"This has validated our efforts over the past few years to promote responsible decision-making and alcohol awareness," said Jason Simons of the WAR council. "We are very excited about the opportunity to host bigger and better events that promote and raise awareness of our cause."

The NCAA grant is for $27,489 over a three-year period with a campus match of $51,619. The program will be known as LITTLE Choices Have GIANT Consequences.

The students will be delivering their message at NCAA events, all-campus social activities, Homecoming, and Pan-Hel. Additionally, the WAR Council will create other fun activities throughout the year where alcohol is not present.

Athletic trainer Mark Colston has been working with the group and helping recruit student athletes from each Little Giant team. "This group has been struggling with finding itself with limited funding and trying to educate Wabash men about alcohol," Colston said. "Now with funding, the education events and activities should be enhanced."

Colston and Associate Dean of Students Mike Raters will coordinate the grant.

"I’m excited for our students, who will be able to use the grant funds to better design activities that are creative and fun and, more significantly, that will enable students to model responsible behaviors," Raters said. "By putting faces and activities with the social norm, students will be better able to see responsible, gentlemanly behavior modeled – and, thus, will feel compelled to model it themselves."

The coordinators were quick to credit the increased student involvement and the help of Nancy Doemel, Senior Advancement Officer.

"This is our third try, and it had the most student involvement," Doemel said. "We think it dovetails nicely with other leadership training efforts on campus, and we’re eager to see the guys in the WAR Council involved in those activities, as learners, and later, as peer educators."

The WAR Council has nearly 40 students, representing athletics and living units, signed up. The students involved include: Kevin Andrews ’10, Bryan Arnold ’09, Yousuf Bahrami ’10, Tyler Benbow ’08, Aaron Brock ’10, Jay Brouwer ’09, Eric Carroll ’08, Sean Clerget ’09, Robert Fozkos ’10, Brock Graham ’10, Wade Heiny ’09, John Holmes ’09, Cole Jeffries ’10, Charles Johnson ’09, Cody Johnson ’10, John Kasey ’08, Bill Kneapler ’10, Geoffrey Lambert ’08, Ben Lampkins ’10, Joshua Lopez ’10, Devin Moss ’09, Ryan Nuppnau ’08, Adam Petro ’10, Matt Potasnik ’08, Tim Rickard ’08, Richard Roomes ’08, David Rosborough ’10, Nathan Schrader ’10, Mike Schultz ’08, Erick Shaver ’09, Sabir Shrestha ’09, Simons ’08, Mark Thomas ’10, Jared Tribbett ’09, Jordan Vice ’09, Trayton White ’08.


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