Special Reports

Students share ideas on excessive drinking

Our Focus on Excessive Drinking series continues to provide an idea exchange every Monday, and over time it’s helped present a dialogue that isn’t “us against them.”

A headline on this page last Monday, “Town, gown can find ideal balance,” suggested the real goal as we make strides as a community. We’ve clearly had setbacks during this semester, with alleged hazing at a fraternity the latest incident, but improvements can be envisioned thanks to the work of officials on the front lines and a lot of volunteers.

That town-gown headline topped a report on the March 23 Community Conversation in State College. Ideas including holding block parties in neighborhoods at the start of the semester and creating a student mentoring program will be explored for changes to come.

A few Penn State students shared ideas at that meeting, but many more students will be heard from in coming weeks as two classes offer reports on their semester-long study of excessive drinking and its impact on campus and community.

I’ve been fortunate to meet with some of these students in recent weeks. Their research and recommendations, presented in columns for three consecutive Mondays on our Views page, will supplement a few of the ideas generated from the community and add others to the ongoing discussion.

Both classes will present their findings at public forums — the Presidential Leadership Academy at 6 p.m. April 26 at the HUB, and the Writing in the Social Sciences class at 6:30 p.m. April 28 at the State College Municipal Building.

Students from the academy created by Penn State President Graham Spanier will preview their presentation in a column on Monday’s Views page. Full reports on their recommendations will run May 3.

Students from Judith McKelvey’s English class will present their findings on the April 26 Views page, prior to their event.

Attend one of these sessions and you’ll find students fully engaged on this issue. Their input will be important as we move toward changes.

Our Focus on Excessive Drinking series on Monday also will include a column by State College Mayor Elizabeth Goreham. Later in the week, we’ll publish a question- and-answer session with Dr. Theodore Ziff, medical director of the emergency department at Mount Nittany Medical Center.

Looking ahead past the student presentations, the Focus on Excessive Drinking series will focus on the challenge of youth drinking, just as proms and graduations are being planned and hosted around the county.

Thanks to all the writers to date as we host this idea exchange that will continue for a few more weeks before a summer break. To contribute, send your idea or letter to cdtletters@centredaily.com.

As Congress debated health care reform before approving landmark legislation, county and local governments, school districts and Penn State were finding out about health care realities.

Their bills were soaring. They’ve decided they can’t wait for health care reform and are taking steps to control costs.

The realities for next year are challenging too, as stories will detail Sunday through Tuesday in the Centre Daily Times.

Reporters Anne Danahy and Ed Mahon spent a few weeks looking into rising health care costs at the local level. Their three-day series starting Sunday will interest employees and taxpayers.

Have a great weekend, everyone. 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