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Identity & Community

PA Liquor Control Board Grants Pitt Responsible Alcohol Use Grant

The University of Pittsburgh received a $34,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board to expand programs encouraging responsible alcohol use.

The university is one of 24 in the state to receive funding to address three areas: engagement, education and enforcement.

Kannu Sahni, the university’s director of community relations, said the funding will introduce effective, evidence-informed programing on the risks of binge drinking and underage consumption.

“We feel this is a larger societal problem and we have programs to address it from the earliest point of time even prior to students coming here. But what we feel this grant will do is expand existing programing as well as add some interesting and innovative components to our programming,” he said.

The Liquor Control Board offers training materials with the grant including modules for residence hall assistants.  

“So these modules would establish expectations of behavior off campus, and talk about consequences of the outcomes students might experience if there is underage and dangerous drinking,” he said.

Sahni said the resident assistants’ have the responsibility of educating students in their halls. But often times, underage and binge drinking occurs off campus.

The grant funding will also hire Impact Details, off-duty uniformed officers, to proactively monitor neighborhoods surrounding the university for parties being set up or those getting out-of-hand.  

“Our officers will visit these locations again the following day and have a conversation with the residents there and talk about how their behavior can have adverse outcomes and suggest to them how they can reduce impact on their community as well as be good neighbors themselves,” he said.

Sahni said the ultimate goal of the grant timeline is to strengthen partnerships with community partners including the Oakland community, Pittsburgh police and other neighboring universities.

“The outcomes we anticipate is for our students, whether from the University of Pittsburgh or any of our neighboring schools, would be to bring about a change in perception towards more engagement, less disruption, and obviously safety and security,” he said.

Existing programs including PantherTRAC, a text-message based technology to reduce binge drinking, and Buzzkill, a national campaign to help students understand consequences of hosting parties with alcohol and underage guests, will also be expanded with the grant funding.