Alcohol forum held to unify area

An alcohol abuse forum will be held next Thursday at UW-Eau Claire to help forge connections on important issues between the university and the community.

The forum, titled “Addressing Alcohol Abuse Through Public Policy: Finding Common Ground,” will focus on how the community can get involved in shaping public policy, as well as how to make an impact on alcohol abuse within the lives of students and community members.

“The goal is to connect university resources with hot topics in the community,” said Nikki Andrews, outreach specialist for Health and Human Services.

The forum will begin at 8:30 a.m., running until 4:30 p.m. with both breakfast and lunch provided.

The event will be divided in two parts. The morning session will seek to define alcohol abuse and public policy. Questions asked will include: What is alcohol abuse? Is it really an issue? What is public policy?

After lunch, the forum will resume with a panel of local officials and public servants giving their take on alcohol abuse. In addition, there will be time to break up into small groups for discussion.

Both the morning and afternoon sessions will allow for question and answer time with the speakers.

“It’d be a great time for students to ask some tough questions,” Andrews said.

Keynote speakers include:

ú Tom Oliver, Ph.D.

ú Patrick Remington, M.D., M.P.H.

ú Richard Brown, M.D., M.P.H.

ú Paul Moberg, Ph.D.

While the event is geared in a large part toward students, they may seem uninterested. The hustle and bustle of finals and moving home seem to have most too preoccupied to worry about the forum.

“I don’t have a problem so I don’t think it would be worth it to go,” sophomore Michelle Noltner said. “The ones with a problem will be the ones that don’t show up.”

Sophomore Laura Petricka agreed.

“I would definitely go, if I had the time,” she said.

All schedules aside, other students remain unimpressed with the lineup of visiting speakers.

“I don’t think it matters because we have fine professors here,” junior Michael Crusan said. “We have the staff and resources to do it.”

Others remain unconvinced that the forum will have any real impact.

“You could say everything in the world but kids aren’t going to stop (drinking),” sophomore Benjamin McCutcheon said. “They are stubborn enough that they won’t listen.”

Tickets to the event cost $69, although students wishing to attend can apply for a full scholarship. Andrews said getting a scholarship is relatively easy and that applicants need to only write a 50-word essay about why they want to go to apply.

The deadline for student scholarships is today. Any interested students should contact Andrews at (715)836-3636.