Tag Archives: St. Cloud State University

St. Cloud State Partners with the Community to Effectively Reduce High Risk Drinking

By Jennifer Sell Matzke

Thanks to a series of successful collaborative efforts to alter the culture when it comes to alcohol and drug use on the campus of St. Cloud State University and the surrounding community, dramatic, positive and measurable changes are occurring.

In 2005, results from a college student health assessment showed that 58% of St. Cloud State students reported engaging in high risk drinking (defined as 5 or more alcohol beverages in a single sitting) within the last two weeks — a rate significantly above the national average reported by college students across the country.  The negative consequences associated with this behavior were taking a toll not only on students but also on the campus and surrounding community.

In order to address this problem, SCSU implemented an environmental management approach to addressing high risk drinking and the related harmful consequences.  Now, just seven years later, the high risk drinking rate for SCSU has fallen to 34.1%, a rate on par with the national average.  This is a feat that is now bringing national attention to SCSU and the city of St. Cloud, primarily because of the partnerships that have evolved and developed to make this change possible.

results table

This change in culture can be attributed in large part to the numerous collaborative efforts put forth between members of St. Cloud State University, the Neighborhood University Community Coalition, the St. Cloud Police Department and St. Cloud city administrators.  In July 2010 the Social Host, Provisional Licensing for Liquor Establishments, and Disruptive Intoxication Ordinances were proposed as a collaborative effort by the various groups mentioned above to address concerns within the community.  These ordinances were ultimately adopted in the city of St. Cloud and the impact has been extremely positive.  For example, as a result of the Social Host Ordinance, the city has seen a drastic reduction in the number of loud parties and university neighbors report a significantly improved quality of life as a result.

In August of 2010, shortly after the new ordinances were passed, the city and university partnered together to introduce and implement the IMPACT Diversion Program. This joint program is designed to offer individuals who have been charged with an underage alcohol violation the opportunity to receive alcohol education and prevention services. The Diversion program has resulted in a reduction in underage consumption recidivism from 12% to 6.9%, in nearly 1900 cases in the past two years as well as a significant decrease in the number of alcohol related emergency room admissions.  Since Diversion is also an option for non-students, underage individuals have returned to St. Cloud to complete Diversion from as far away as Illinois, North Dakota, Wisconsin, and Texas.

Beginning in fall 2012, SCSU has also partnered with St. Cloud Technical and Community College to provide IMPACT programming on their campus. The two colleges now share a graduate assistant who works to provide prevention programming to both campuses.  These combined efforts have drastically changed the environment in the city of St. Cloud and the culture around drinking on campus at both SCSU and SCTCC.

Through these efforts, the city of St. Cloud and area colleges have witnessed firsthand the impact of collaboration in affecting change, the importance of partnerships and data collection and the power of education to reduce alcohol use.  These efforts have been the catalyst for various other partnerships to address alcohol issues in the community. For example, the St. Cloud Community Alliance (SCCA) evolved out of these efforts and brings together city leaders, campus leaders, residents, students and businesses from throughout the city of St. Cloud and the surrounding communities.  The SCCA is a coalition with a simple mission:  to make St. Cloud a better place for everyone; with a primary focus to reduce high-risk drinking and the negative impacts on our community.

The collaborative relationships that were built and exist between these entities continue to thrive and provide numerous opportunities for partners to work together for the sake of creating an improved quality of life for all residents, students, visitors, faculty and staff within the city of St. Cloud.

Jennifer Sell Matzke is Interim Assistant Dean of Students for Chemical Health and Outreach Programming at St. Cloud State University.

Advertisements

Vote for St. Cloud State Student in White House Contest

Re-blogged from the American Democracy Project blog

St. Cloud State University student Kurtis Neu needs your vote to make it to the White House.

Kurt Neu, a senior anthropology major, is one of 15 finalists chosen in the 2011 White House Campus “Champions of Change” Challenge, which invited college and university students from across the country to demonstrate how their student-led project is improving their campus community and helping America win the future.

After reviewing a record number of entries, 15 finalists were named, including Neu’s which is titled “Our Promise: Building a Better Community Together.”

Neu’s project was put into action last summer providing bagged lunches for children in a multi-ethnic, low-income neighborhood who would normally qualify for lunch assistance during the academic year at a local elementary school. After receiving a grant from the campus food supplier, Neu and his team began making bagged lunches in the campus cafeteria every morning Monday through Friday. College students and volunteers from the community worked together to prepare meals which students then distributed to children in the neighborhood. What started as only a few hundred meals and a handful of volunteers grew to nearly 1000 meals and dozens of volunteers as awareness of the lunch program spread. Delivering the meals to various locations throughout the neighborhood made it possible for students and residents to meet face-to-face and to have purposeful conversations and to work towards establishing relationships based on trust, compassion and a general concern for the well-being of all community members.

Via email, Kurt indicated that the “Our Promise” project represents the collective efforts of “a fantastic group of individuals who are committed to improving the community.” He views St. Cloud State University as “an exceptional place to earn a degree and to discover how to see the world in a different light” and hopes that his project encourages other students to “make the best of their time in college and truly have a positive impact on campus and in the community.”

Go here to learn more and to vote.

The top five winners will largely be selected based on voting and named Campus Champions of Change and will be invited to a culminating event at the White House. The Challenge winners, in addition to the concluding event, will be highlighted by mtvU and MTV Act and also host an episode of mtvU’s signature program, “The Dean’s List.”

The deadline to cast your vote is Saturday, March 3.

Best of luck to you, Kurt, and to St. Cloud State University!

Minnesota Campuses Receive Presidential Recognition

Augsburg College is one of six colleges and universities receiving Presidential Awards in the 2010 President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll, the highest federal recognition a college or university can receive for its President's Honor Rollcommitment to community service.

The Honor Roll, launched in 2006, annually recognizes institutions of higher education for their commitment to and achievement in community service. Honorees are chosen based on a series of selection factors including scope and innovation of service projects, percentage of student participation in service activities, incentives for service, and the extent to which the school offers academic service-learning courses.

The College of Saint Benedict and Metropolitan State University, were recognized on the Honor Roll With Distinction.

Other Minnesota Honor Roll institutions include:

  • Carleton College
  • Central Lakes College
  • Century College
  • Gustavus Adolphus College
  • Inver Hills Community College
  • Macalester College
  • Minnesota School of Business-Rochester
  • Normandale Community College
  • North Hennepin Community College
  • Saint John’s University
  • St. Cloud State University
  • St. Olaf College
  • University of Minnesota, Crookston
  • University of St. Thomas
  • Winona State University

Congratulations to all of these campuses for their extraordinary commitments to serving their communities.

A strong dedication to community partnerships at St. Cloud State

By Earl H. Potter III, President of St. Cloud State University and Minnesota Campus Compact board member

This post is excerpted from: “To a higher degree: SCSU is committed to community partnerships,” St. Cloud Times, Sunday July 25, 2010

Across America, colleges and universities are seeking collaboration with their communities to address issues that affect us all. St. Cloud State is a committed participant in this movement.

When I arrived in St. Cloud three years ago, I encountered city leaders who understood the university exists within the community and the well-being of one affects that of the other. These leaders did not simply talk about partnership; they acted on what they believed.

Neighborhood residents and property owners, leaders in business and the arts and a host of others have joined in strengthening “town-and-gown” partnerships that are making this a better, more enjoyable and safer community. It doesn’t hurt that many of these partners, including the mayor, are alumni of St. Cloud State.

St. Cloud State makes a difference in Central Minnesota, and together we can increase the value of the university’s contributions.

The “Welcome Back Students” campaign we began three years ago has focused attention on the positive impact students have on the community, providing a solid labor pool and contributing significantly to the region’s economy.

Our students also enrich the community with a variety of outreach activities. St. Cloud State students invest an estimated 1.5 million hours annually in volunteer work on campus and in community organizations including Boys & Girls Clubs, Habitat for Humanity and area nursing homes.

Faculty and staff also make significant contributions as leaders and participants in the arts and a variety of local organizations.

In return, it is clear there are multiple benefits for universities to engage in community building, problem solving and knowledge sharing with their communities.

The greatest may be the example these outreach activities sets for our students. They come to St. Cloud State for their education, but a significant part of that education is gained beyond the perimeters of campus — learning how to live responsibly with neighbors and to make smart choices about their lives. Many of these opportunities are found in their jobs, their activities and their relationships off campus.

Increasing numbers of students are participating in the campus U-Choose and city’s Impact Diversion Programs to help them make legal, healthy and safe choices about alcohol use.

Students selected to provide leadership for the Husky Neighbors Program are building better relations between students and their south side community neighbors.

At St. Cloud State, we have been actively assessing the value and strength of our community partnerships. The university has invited leaders of civic and charitable organizations to participate in our second “Celebration of Community Partners: Moving Forward” on Aug. 17. We plan to host these important discussions every six months in the coming years.

All of these initiatives strengthen established relationships and create opportunities for new ones, helping us meet the needs of students preparing for a world of big challenges and bigger opportunities.

Building Bridges: Campus Community Connections in St. Cloud

By Maria Ortiz

With help from a capacity building grant through Minnesota Campus Compact, St. Cloud State University (SCSU) and St. Cloud Independent School District (ISD) 742 developed, “Building Bridges: Campus Community Connections.” The goals of the project were: 1) to enhance and deepen the partnership and collaboration between SCSU and ISD 742 in the face of service learning budget reductions; and 2) to meet the mutual needs identified to enrich student learning among specific ISD 742 and SCSU classrooms and courses.

This project enabled SCSU to increase the infrastructure necessary to support community service-learning; providing opportunities for classroom theory to be practiced in a real-time setting and further institutionalizing service-learning and civic engagement SCSUas a core campus value. This collaborative work created service-learning experiences, fostered college aspirations among ISD 742 students, and met the educational needs and goals of both K-12 and university students. According to Beth Knutson-Kolodzne, SCSU Volunteer Connection Coordinator, even though the grant period is over, the projects it helped to create have continued to produce results.

The Building Bridges project focused on three activities; Reading Tutoring, Spanish Immersion, and English Language Leaner (ELL). The Reading Tutor Project involves SCSU Students in a Special Education class with students’ 4th-6th grade at Lincoln Elementary School in St. Cloud. Through this partnership, ISD 742 students improved their confidence and performance in the subject areas identified by the teachers and SCSU students are provided practical experience in the subject area of their specific course/major.  “The tutoring project still occurs with Lincoln Elementary school with the Special Ed. (SPED) 200 class at SCSU.  This also occurs among the teachers at Lincoln and the special education faculty at SCSU,” explained Knutson-Kolodzne.

The Spanish Immersion Project involves SCSU students in upper division Spanish courses working with students in grades K-1 at Clearview Elementary School in Clear Lake, MN. Through this partnership, language acquisition skills and proficiency are enhanced among all parties. The Spanish Immersion program with Clearview Elementary school is coordinated through the department of Foreign Languages’, Spanish teaching faculty and includes this as both curricular service-learning and co-curricular volunteering.

The English Language Learner (ELL) Project involves a collaboration to coordinate and facilitate a Career & Technical Education Academy for English Language Learners in grades 9-12. This partnership exposes ELL students to college and career options and provides them the opportunity to engage in exploring both. According to Knutson-Kolodzne, “We used to do this over the course of 4-5 days for 2 summers with ELL students in grades 9-12 in District 742.  Now, starting this semester (Spring 2010), we have created a Career & Technical Education (CTE) program focusing on Science, Technology, Engineering & Math (STEM) initiatives with students, faculty and staff at SCSU that have expertise or interested in those areas.  It is now an 8-week program, which takes place every Tuesday for approximately 3 hours after school.  We call it CTE-STEM for ELL.”

Examples of impact on students are evident through excerpts from SCSU students’ reflection journals from the Spanish Immersion project at Clearview Elementary School:

“This was a great experience for me because I learned that using my Spanish is easier than I thought. It has been great practice and has given me more confidence with my ability to speak.’

“I have learned the importance of taking the time to volunteer. I realize how much I really enjoy doing something for no pay. I think often times people are so concerned about what we can get for ourselves out of everything we do and most of the time people want money. It is nice to revert back to just doing something for the greater good. It feels nice to give.”

Support from the MNCC grant allowed both SCSU and ISD 742 to more fully appreciate the needs, capacities, and energy involved in creating positive, effective partnerships.  The many activities involved in the project allow partners to find better, more effective and efficient methods of working together.

Every Child Deserves a Playground

By John Hamerlinck

In 2001, St. Cloud State University received a grant from the Minnesota Campus Compact administered Community Service-Learning & Campus-Community Collaboration Initiatives program. That initial investment of $14,000 has leveraged many times that amount in contributions. It has also provided an invaluable community asset and valuable educational experiences for hundreds of St. Cloud State University students. For more information see the SCSU Web site and this story on the Kaboom! site.