USD Greek community honored nationally

USD Greek community honored nationally The University of South Dakota Greek community was among 11 college and university fraternity/sorority communities across the country honored recently by the North-American Interfraternity Conference (NIC) with the 2002 Alcohol Summit Achievement Awards.

The award was presented to the 11 �elite� campuses in recognition of their initiative and leadership in hosting the NIC Alcohol Summit Program. The awardees were: The University of South Dakota; Adrian College; Bucknell University; Iowa State University; Mercer University; University of Miami; University of Nevada, Las Vegas; University of North Dakota; Vanderbilt University; Valdosta State University; and Washington and Lee University.

USD student Jeff Johnson accepted the award on behalf of the USD Greek community in February at the Regional Mid-American Greek Conference Association (MGCA) leadership conference in Chicago, IL. Johnson, the MGCA Northern Area vice-president, is the son of John and Linda Snell of Huron.

USD held its Alcohol Summit weekend on the Vermillion campus in February.

�Throughout the weekend, students discussed the issue of high risk drinking and the role it plays in the fraternity/sorority experience,� said USD Greek Life Coordinator Genevieve Evans-Taylor. �Students challenged current practices and confronted behavior which was not in congruence with their ritual.�

According to Matt Holley, director of Alcohol Education Initiatives for the NIC, the purpose of the Alcohol Summit was to empower a campus� fraternity and sorority community to confront unsafe traditions and cultural norms regarding the use of alcohol.

�These student leaders took the initiative to proactively address the issues of high risk drinking within their community,� Holley said. He added that the NIC has been impressed with the commitment, energy, passion, and vision of the Alcohol Summit participants at each of the 11 campuses.

The campuses were selected from an extensive pool to host the program. Factors that contributed to these campuses being selected were demographics, university support, and student commitment. �We selected a wide variety of campus communities,� Holley said. �We looked for large state supported institutions and small private colleges in order to test our program and message in very different environments,� he added.

The Alcohol Summit is a collaborative effort between the NIC and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) through the largest college based grant that NHTSA has ever awarded. The partnership began two years ago when NHTSA awarded the $750,000 grant to the NIC to develop the program. The program asks participants to change the alcohol culture and challenge high risk drinking behaviors.

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