College Wins Grant to Curb Underage Drinking

College Wins Grant to Curb Underage Drinking


SUNY Cortland will benefit from a federal grant worth up to $20,000 that funds underage drinking prevention efforts aimed at college students. The College’s University Police Department will work with Cortland Prevention Resources, formerly the Seven Valleys Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse, and local law enforcement agencies to curb high-risk drinking behavior.

New York state’s Office of Alcoholism and Substance Abuse Services (OASAS) announced Friday that Cortland Prevention Resources is one of five prevention providers in New York state to receive the grant. Each agency will collaborate with a specific institution to address underage drinking among college students.

“We are very excited to receive the funding that will assist us with enforcement and alcohol education,” said Mark DePaull, assistant chief of SUNY Cortland’s University Police Department. “We are equally excited about partnering with the City of Cortland Police Department and Cortland Prevention Resources.”

University officers will increase the number of foot patrols in areas where campus property meets city property and roadways, DePaull said. Two specific areas will include what DePaull called “the top of the hill,” near Graham Avenue and Stevenson Street, and the lower part of campus near Water Street.

Additionally, officers will boost their patrol of campus residence halls and work with the Student Conduct and Residence Life and Housing offices to offer more educational programming related to underage drinking prevention, DePaull said.

Grant recipients are required to carry out one law enforcement activity and submit a quarterly report of expenditures in order to receive the funds. Activities can include enhanced party patrols, retail compliance checks and sobriety checkpoints, among other efforts.

The funding comes from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) Enforcing the Underage Drinking Laws (EUDL) Block Grant. Not-for-profit community agencies that partner with colleges and law enforcement agencies were eligible to apply for the grant.

“Obtaining resources to educate the young people in our community on the dangers of high-risk and underage drinking is essential in moving our mission forward,” said Kimberly McRae Friedman, the executive director of Cortland Prevention Resources.

In addition to SUNY Cortland, the four other institutions that will benefit from the grant include SUNY Geneseo, Hilbert College, Morrisville State College and SUNY Plattsburgh.