Alcohol and drug abuse and their relationship to violence were discussed at the first meeting of the Northridge Community Coalition at Cal State Northridge on Thursday.
The development of alcohol-related programs and workshops, made possible by a $250,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education, was also addressed at the meeting, held in the Student Health Center and attended by more than 30 coalition members, including faculty, student leaders, community members and Los Angeles Police Department representatives.
"What's special about this grant is that it brings the whole community together and allows us to do a whole host of things in the community that we would never have been able to do," said Carol Baxter, CSUN health educator, who presided over the meeting.
Baxter said new data collected from campus surveys will provide information on alcohol and other drug usage and their associated behaviors, such as violence. She said the data will also gauge the effectiveness of intervention programs.
"The primary goal of this grant is to reduce violence resulting from alcohol and drug abuse, and our goal is to see to it that we're achieving that," said Dr. Roberta Madison, who is in charge of data evaluation.
Part of the funding will be allocated to local elementary, middle and high schools, said Baxter, who added, "It's my belief that if we educate not only the kids, but the educators and administrators, we will in the end make an enormous impact."
Also discussed at the meeting was the development of a "positive" advertising campaign aimed at CSUN students.
"By positive, I mean, for example, if statistics show that 24% of our students binge drink, that mean's 76% are not," Baxter said. "If they know they have support from other people who are not doing it, it makes it easier for them to say 'no' to drinking."
The next meeting is tentatively scheduled from 1 to 2 p.m. Feb. 19. For more information, call (818) 677-4779.