Wabash Honored for Alcohol Prevention

INDIANAPOLIS, In. - Wabash College’s Dean of Students Michael Raters is the 2013 recipient of the Dean Richard McKaig Award for Exemplary Leadership in Addressing High Risk Drinking. The award was presented Friday at the Indiana Collegiate Action Network’s annual meeting in Carmel.

Raters accepted the award on behalf of a myriad of support groups on campus, including student life, alumni, and the student body.

“Just as no one person is the reason for a Super Bowl or World Series champion, so it is with a college’s approach to successfully reduce high-risk drinking,” said Raters. “The members of our Wabash team, across the institution, have pulled together in embracing our consistent and continual approach to combat this daily challenge. I am pleased that we have Student Life staff, alumni leadership, and, of course, student leaders, with us today to not only model our team-oriented methods, but also to share in the recognition.”

Michael Raters accepts the Dean McKaig Award from Lisa Hutcheson, ICAN Director.The award honors Richard McKaig, who served as Dean of Students at Indiana University for 38 years. Its criteria states that the recipient is in an on-campus senior leadership position and show exemplary leadership in addressing high-risk drinking through personal involvement and commitment.

Raters and the Wabash team instituted a number of programs to curb high-risk drinking: formed the biannual Housing Education and Leadership Program (HELP), a daylong health, safety, and wellness workshop for housing leaders; developed discussions of the Wabash Gentleman’s Rule and appropriate behaviors during Freshman Orientation; founded the WAR Council (Wabash Acts Responsibly), the focus of which is responsible behaviors, including drinking by of-age students; instituted the Alcohol Wise survey for all incoming students and brought to campus Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller and Sen. Jim Merritt, author of the Indiana Lifeline Law, shortly after the law was passed.

“We are, and always have been, quite serious about the expectations incumbent upon our Gentlemen as responsible citizens. All members of the Wabash community take a proactive approach to reducing high-risk drinking on our campus every day,” Raters said. “We appreciate the Indiana Collegiate Action Network’s recognition of our efforts and we will honor Dean McKaig and the spirit of the award by furthering our commitment to, and passion for, this important element of college life.  We won’t rest on this laurel, but are very proud and humbled to accept it because Wabash Always Fights!”

An association of 42 schools statewide working together to address high-risk activities among college students, ICAN is part of a national organization that proactively addresses the issues of alcohol, other drugs, and violence in order to promote healthy campus environments through self-regulatory initiatives, information dissemination, and technical assistance. The Network serves as a liaison between the U.S. Department of Education and member institutions as well as other higher education professional organizations.

“First, I want to congratulate Wabash College on earning this award,” said Sen. Merritt.  “Everything that I hear going on at Wabash is very positive towards building an anti-alcohol culture and reducing high-risk behaviors.”