Alcohol Policy Forum Created

The College’s alcohol policy committee has created an online forum to gather student opinions for its ongoing revision of the College’s alcohol policy.

After focus groups held by the committee last semester saw low attendance, Dean of Student Life Suzy M. Nelson sent an email to the student body on Feb. 8 with a link to an online alcohol policy comment box. The survey, which is accessible only after a student logs in with a Harvard ID number, includes six open-ended questions.

The questions include, “What philosophy and values should guide the development of a College alcohol policy?” and “How might we empower students to actively create a unique and transformative vision for socializing and interacting with each other in a safe and healthy way?”

Students who were unable to attend the seven focus group meetings or felt uncomfortable discussing their views in person can utilize the online comment box, Cabot House Master and Alcohol Policy Committee Chair Rakesh Khurana said.

“This will allow the student voice to drive the direction of the policies,” said Hilary A. Hayssen ’13, a member of the Drug and Alcohol Peer Advisors Community and Education Outreach subcommittee.

The College’s initial attempt to solicit student perspectives attracted a disappointing total of 70 students, tutors, and proctors over the course of the meetings in seven locations across campus. Most of the student participants were DAPA members, Undergraduate Council representatives, and House Committee members.

“There was a selection bias of students interested in talking about alcohol,” Nelson said, adding that she hopes the website will elicit a more comprehensive poll of the student body.

Last fall, Dean of the College Evelynn M. Hammonds, who formed the committee, allotted funds to the Houses and Yard to support alternative programming on weekend nights.

The events included concerts, dances, and movie screenings.

“All those things go hand-in-hand with the over-arching theme of healthy, safe, fun socializing on campus,” Nelson said.

The number of students who have completed the survey thus far was unavailable.

Hayssen said that she hoped students take the time to respond.

“Like anything else, there will be some who do not participate, but I hope people recognize the opportunity to contribute and take advantage of it,” she said.

—Staff writer Eliza M. Nguyen can be reached at enguyen@college.harvard.edu.

—Staff writer Jane Seo can be reached at janeseo@college.harvard.edu.

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