Inviting continuing discussion on excessive drinking

bheisse@centredaily.comJanuary 10, 2010 

"Public drunkenness every-one's problem." "Community must unite to meet the challenges."

Those two headlines accompanied compelling columns two months ago on this page. One was written by a State College resident who shared her family's experience when they found a drunk intruder in their house one night; the other was written by Penn State president Graham Spanier, who said it’s time for a new conversation on excessive student drinking.

The columns were followed by essentially a town hall debate on Views, with letters and columns from readers over several weeks. Daily Times. We’ll call it “Focus on excessive drinking.”

For this effort we join Penn State and State College officials and law enforcement and emergency personnel in spotlighting concerns about the impact of dangerous drinking and what is being done about it and can be done further.

We’re reaching out to invite Penn State students and community members to get involved in this public service mission, and our hope in the long run is to contribute to coming up with solutions that keep this issue out of the headlines.

We’re starting from strength, because a lot of work already has been done here to identify the problem and raise awareness of excessive drinking both on and off campus.

Groups like the Partnership: Campus and Community United Against Dangerous Drinking, the two Communities that Care groups serving Centre County, and the Community Help Center are making a difference and you’ll read about their work in this series. You’ll also read about the challenges and the dangers involved in excessive drinking, from many perspectives.

Sara Ganim today reports encouraging news in the fight against drunken driving, a major concern in Centre County. Stories on different aspects of the drinking issue will be included as part of the Monday series throughout the Penn State semester.

The Views page will feature columns from students and community members, and all along any reader is welcome to participate by sending a letter, column or story idea to cdtletters@centredaily.com. All previously published letters, columns and recent news stories on this topic can now be found at CentreDaily.com/drinking. Everything published in this weekly series will be sent there too.

A recent PBS broadcast of “This American Life,” aired on WPSU, presented a detailed report on Penn State student drinking and raised many ideas for moving forward. That report also is linked on our drinking page; consider this series starting January 18 an avenue for ideas.

We hope, with your help, to make a difference by bringing this community problem into focus over weeks and months.

As always, please contact me with concerns you have about anything in the Centre Daily Times or CentreDaily.com.

Executive Editor Bob Heisse can be reached at bheisse@centredaily.com or 231-4640.

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