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ProjectConnect

Hosted by: Bloomsburg University

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Please briefly describe your Communities Talk activity.

Our Communities Talk activity was hosted in collaboration with ProjectConnect, a nonprofit organization dedicated to nourishing the connection between colleges/universities and their local organizations to promote healthy friendships and community, thus decreasing the need of mind-altering substances such as alcohol to “have a fun time.” During the event, the executive director of ProjectConnect interacted with university students through games and activities that encouraged conversation.

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How does underage drinking and substance misuse affect your community?

College students who drink are more likely to skip classes, sleep more than normal, study less, and get engaged in unintentional campus activities and be less connected with healthy peers. The likelihood of dropping out increases. The success rate increases if students engage in health-enhancing choices, like participation in clubs and organization, physical activities, friendships, and healthy peer engagement.

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What goal(s) did you hope to accomplish with your Communities Talk activity?

  • Reduce prevalence of underage drinking and other substances in community
  • Create an ongoing conversation about underage drinking and substance use prevention in the community
  • Foster collaboration between community stakeholders for continued underage drinking and substance use prevention activities
  • Create new resources/materials (e.g., publications, handouts, factsheets, videos, graphics) to support prevention of underage drinking and misuse of other substances
  • Awareness and enforcement of social host laws) to support prevention of underage drinking
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Who did you involve in your activity planning, and who did your activity impact?

Our Alcohol and Other Drug Services group and ProjectConnect collaborated to plan and implement our on-campus community event. COVID-19 had a strong impact on our students and campus community, so our focus was to create a space to spark a connection again. This activity was a starting point to help students find comfort and support again through each other on campus.

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Which Communities Talk resources (or other SAMHSA resources) were most helpful for your activity?

  • The stipend that allowed us to explore ProjectConnect and hire a speaker.
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Did the COVID-19 pandemic affect the planning or execution of your activities?

Yes, the usual interactive process of college life was interrupted.

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What other challenge(s) did you face in planning your activity this year?

  • Needed additional resources to conduct activity
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How did you overcome these challenges?

The usual collaborative spirit of our college campus was interrupted due to the pandemic, but we were able to rally together staff and student workers to plan and organize the event.

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What are your next steps?

  • Host follow-up meetings or activities
  • Create new action groups to tackle specific issues raised during our Communities Talk activity

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