Organization gets government grant for the promotion of responsible drinking
By Melanie Chupein, Co-Editor in Chief
McDaniel College has received a two-year grant from the United States Department of Education to fund Late Nights, a student run program that promotes responsible drinking.
Project Director Grogan Ullah, wrote and applied for the grant and said that out of 168 applicants McDaniel ranked 6th. It took about a month to finish writing the grant. He said that “it was almost round the clock (literally late nights and weekends).” He adds that grant proposals have special format. Most proposals consist of about five to six mini essays. Each proposal is scored individually by outside readers usually on a scale of 100 points. After they receive a score, recommendations are made to the government for selection. Ullah said that the entire ordeal “is a highly competitive process.”
Ullah wants the students to plan events that interest them. He emphasizes the importance of raising awareness about the alternatives to binge drinking and reminding people that they have a choice.
“What kind of campus do you want it to be?” Ullah asked, adding, “We got the funding so that anything that the students want to do at campus that is fun and raises awareness about responsible drinking we can do.”
Andy Wu, ‘06 graduate and another member of the Late Nights team explained the mission of the organization.
“Late Nights is an organization trying to reduce dangerous drinking practices on campus,” Wu said. “We emphasize responsible drinking and informed decision making to ensure a safe after hours campus.”
Wu recognizes that tackling the issue of drinking on campus is difficult but he is confident that the method they are using is working. For their first event, an ice cream social was held and nearly 300 students showed up.
“I think our method of approaching students will help out a lot,” Wu said. “We speak to them as equals who understand their behaviors, not as authority figures trying to ruin their college experiences.”
Jess Behar, ’07 graduate and interactive theatre consultant for the program is hoping that there will be many more events on campus adding, “If there’s energy around it, we will plan it.” Behar hopes to bring more of a night life to McDaniel through regular events and make a difference in the campus community.
“I’m hoping this will have a very positive effect on the campus,” Behar said, “giving students more power to take ownership of their community and make it a safe, fun place to live and learn.”
Allie Pearlman, ’03 graduate and social worker, recalls her time on the Hill.
“Even from when I was a student here, there’s already pre-mixed drinks and people don’t think where it comes from,” Pearlman said. “There’s a disconnect in our minds about what that means.”
Pearlman works closely with the student task force of the Late Nights program, who meet every Monday night at 6 p.m. in Winslow.
Students in the group chose Thursday night as the main night to hold events and beginning on October 4, there will be free game room nights from 11 p.m. to 1 a.m. the first Thursday of each month.
In November, there are plans to host a speaker who will discuss the effects of alcohol on the brain and later there will also be an art show as a means of artistically expressing high risk drinking. Everything in the program is “totally student run, student led.”
“Our goal is to empower students to make changes on campus,” Pearlman said. “We’re sort of the catalyst for change to be made through the students.”