Safer Campuses and Communities
Connect with Others
"The excellent part of the SAFER interventions is that they promote ongoing communication and collaboration between campus and community. It expands our collaboration beyond crisis-to-crisis meetings. It's a way of working together that is more proactive than reactive. That is really useful in building positive working relationships."
- Martin Bragg, director, Health & Counseling Services, Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo

Mobilizing for Action
The success of Safer California Universities resulted from a combination of well-chosen, evidence-based universal prevention strategies and the ability to translate concepts into concrete actions. The ability those on campus and in surrounding communities concerned with high-risk drinking and associated harms to do so depended on their training, experience and skill in mobilizing both campus and community stakeholders.

Lupe Samaniego-Kraus, ATOD Coordinator, University of California, describes how the SAFER program helped develop collaborative working arrangement on and off campus.

Connecting with Others  

Allies, from on and off campus, help achieve prevention objectives. While coalitions or task forces are not outcomes, in and of themselves, enlisting the right key stakeholders is an essential step in reducing harms associated high-risk drinking at off-campus parties and in licensed premises. It is not about getting everyone to the table, but rather getting the right people who are ready to commit and take action. The significant reductions in incidence and likelihood of intoxication at off-campus parties and in bars and restaurants observed for SAFER intervention campuses, compared to controls, could not have been achieved without the willingness of campus and community partners to commit to the interventions.

Recruiting Stakeholders and Allies
Experiences from the SAFER California Universities research project demonstrated useful ways for recruiting key stakeholders to be a part of effective interventions to reduce high-risk drinking in selected settings.

2. Neighborhood association and municipal government. SAFER interventions focus on problems off-campus. The motivation for undertaking these interventions is to prevent unruly and disruptive off-campus parties, reduce the harms associated with high-risk drinking at these events, as well as respond to the concerns of disgruntled and angry community residents. Residents of student neighborhoods and the municipal officials who represent and service them, including police responding to call for service, are important stakeholders.

Your campus may already have ongoing town-gown relationships with neighborhood groups and local officials. Take advantage of these existing relationships and engage these stakeholders in planning your interventions. If not, start with the city manager's or mayor's office for local government connections. In the unlikely event that they're not already known, you can identify neighborhood associations from local newspapers or via Web search.

A number of SAFER California campuses pursue good neighbor policies and provided guidance to students regarding neighborhood organizations, party etiquette and applicable laws. For example, UC Santa Cruz distributes Good Neighbor Guidelines to students. UC Berkeley posts a Healthy Neighborhoods guide on its Student Health Services Web site.

3. Beverage retailers. The SAFERCalifornia Universities research component documented significantly greater reductions in the incidence and likelihood of student intoxication at off-campus licensed premises, such as bars and restaurants, at the intervention universities. Many communities have found that business owners, including businesses which sell and serve alcohol, want to be involved in the prevention of DUI and sales to underage students. Existing tavern owner alliances, restaurant associations and responsible hosting/beverage councils can be allies.

4. Campus-based personnel. A campus coordinator is essential. The success of SAFER California Universities resulted from a combination of well-chosen, evidence-based universal prevention strategies, but it was dependent also on the ability of campus prevention coordinators to translate the concept into concrete action. A major challenge is to maintain on and off campus focus and to coordinate resources within a specific time frame, responsibilities performed by the coordinator supported by campus and community stakeholders. For SAFER Californiacampuses, the coordinator's home base was student health services; he or she was often the existing alcohol/other drug program manager.

Visible participation by a senior campus official can be an internal advocate to represent university support for the project. SAFER campuses typically sought out stakeholders who related to students regarding leisure activities and disciplinary consequences, such as police/public safety, judicial affairs, residential life, and Greek life.