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Seeking To Curb Drinking, State Awards Grant to Local Groups

Grant seeks to provide non-alcoholic alternatives during traditional party weekend

By Yifei Chen, Crimson Staff Writer

Undergraduate Council party grants have found a sober sibling.

With part of a grant from the Massachusetts government, Harvard will subsidize non-alcoholic options at campus parties during Harvard-Yale weekend, including three House Committee (HoCo) parties, according to Harvard administrators.

Last Friday, the Massachusetts Governor’s Highway Safety Bureau gave $40,000 to be split among Harvard University, MIT, and the Cambridge License Commission to help reduce high-risk and underage drinking, according to Director of the Office of Alcohol & Other Drug Services Ryan Travia.

The Harvard Drug and Alcohol Peer Advisors (DAPA) has so far allocated some of the funds given to Harvard for HoCo parties in Pforzheimer, Quincy, and Winthrop, Campus Life Fellow John T. Drake ’06 wrote in an e-mail yesterday.

“The DAPA grant will give $300 per House per party for food,” said Amy Tao ’07, a DAPA member. “The idea would be that twenty pizzas come every hour and a half or 45 minutes.”

But grant money will not be restricted to HoCos, according to Travia. Student groups planning to host events during Harvard-Yale weekend can apply for money at

According to the DAPA grant application form, standard grants will be around $100, and applications for grants exceeding that amount will require additional explanation and be considered on a case-by-case basis.

With an application deadline of this Friday, the Web site has so far received “an application or two that has been completed,” Travia said yesterday.

To ensure the funds are directed toward non-alcoholic purposes, student groups must “keep any documentation that go towards the purchase of food items or non-alcoholic beverages and submit that” in order to be reimbursed, he said.

But Travia emphasized that “the message isn’t really one of abstinence and prohibition, but how to reduce high-risk drinking.”

For example, he said that grant money could be used for water, Gatorade, and other options “for the folks that choose not to drink, or for the people who are drinking to pace themselves [and] to keep hydrated.”

Tao said that using the grant money to provide food will also promote eating while drinking, an effective method to mitigate the effects of alcohol.

—Staff writer Yifei Chen can be reached at

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