BY DANIELLE HAUSNER // APRIL 5, 2012 //
Taking on four interns this semester, Emilie Clucas feels that her uphill battle has become a shared and valuable journey.
As Curry’s alcohol educator, Clucas is a staff of one in the Drug and Alcohol Wellness program. But she has been able to broaden her program’s efforts this academic year thanks to four student interns: senior graphic design majors Jared Maciel and Richelle Miller, senior psychology major Kristin Kurtz, and senior health major Ben Zaritt.
According to Clucas, the group tries not to be “too preachy” and to instead create enjoyable events where students can learn about healthy lifestyle choices. And with her new cadre of interns, she has been able to increase her program’s efforts. In the 2010-2011 academic year, the Drug and Alcohol Wellness program hosted 16 events. This academic year, 26 events have taken place.
The challenge, Zaritt said, is that the group is often “preaching to the choir,” namely students who aren’t likely to abuse drugs and alcohol. Nonetheless, the programming is an important service on campus.
“When one thinks of problems of college, they usually think drugs and alcohol,” said Zaritt. “But I also think that there is always much more to learn, and if students pay attention closely to the alcohol problems and information sent around school, I feel it would be a great opportunity for them to learn something new.”
Some students on campus, like freshman psychology major Sam Koenig, say they have never heard about the program and aren’t interested in learning about it. Others, like senior communication major Danielle Roy and sophomore English major David Haddad, say they don’t know a great deal about the program and have not felt its presence on campus. Others still, like junior sociology major Tarek Ghneim, say that alcohol education is extremely important on campus and should only increase.
Getting the word out was part of Clucas’s rationale in taking on additional interns this year; she previously only had one. All interns receive academic credit for their efforts and each student brings something different to the program, she says. Kurtz has taken on the challenge of building awareness about the dangers of marijuana use. She has even begun to work with Clucas in conduct sanction classes. Zaritt has been focusing more on the study of alcohol poisoning, and creating surveys and lesson plans to use on campus.
The other half of the team has applying their design skills to the internship, with Maciel editing an educational video featuring students who were interviewed about excessive drinking, and Miller working on reworking pamphlets to make them more engaging and interesting to students. All of it is in line with Clucas’s mission.
“I’m not here to tell you what to do,” she said. “I’m just here to give you the information.” Clucas added that she wants students to be aware of how their body- and mind-altering substances affect one’s health.
“It is a great program for the college,” said Maciel. “Students need a place where they can ask questions.”