February 12, 2003

University to Award Top Drug, Alcohol Research

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The R. Brinkley Smithers Institute for Alcohol-Related Workplace Studies of the School of Industrial and Labor Relations will issue the Harrison M. Trice Award for the first time this spring, recognizing the best undergraduate research papers on alcohol and drug abuse in the campus environment.

Bridging academia with alcohol and drug issues, the award aims to promote alcohol and drug awareness amongst undergraduates and to encourage faculty to integrate related materials into their courses, according to Prof. William Sonnenstuhl, organizational behavior.

At the end of each spring semester, a special committee appointed by the President’s Council on Alcohol and Other Drugs will award the author or authors $1,000 for the best undergraduate research paper related to the use or abuse of drugs or alcohol regarding campus life. A second award of $1,000 will be presented to the author of the best undergraduate paper written by a freshman either as an independent project of as part of any freshman course. The award encourages students to research drinking and drug issues with regards to various aspects of campus life including alcohol use and abuse during orientation week, Slope Day and among social groups such as athletes, sororities and fraternities.

“[This research] is very relevant to our culture here at Cornell,” said Emily Posner ’04, student representative for the Education Strategies Committee of the President’s Council on Alcohol and Other Drugs.

Last semester, Posner, Jake Hipps ’04 and Chris Ruppman ’04 researched student drinking at Cornell by conducting qualitative studies on whether or not college students affiliate with Alcoholics Anonymous. Posner intends to submit an analysis of their research results for the Trice Award this spring.

“We experience the student culture everyday just by being here [at Cornell], and this request for research related to undergraduate student drinking gives us the opportunity to look into ourselves, our lives and the things we experience day to day and to make sense of these issues,” Posner said.

The Trice Award works in conjunction with other alcohol prevention strategies such as the Medical Amnesty Protocol (MAP) to address alcohol and other drug use issues from a more positive direction, according to Deborah Lewis, alcohol projects coordinator at Gannett: Cornell University Health Services.

“The MAP builds on students’ ethics and caring for one another, and the Trice Award builds on Cornell’s academic strengths to search for solutions to the complex problem of student alcohol use and abuse,” Lewis said.

Rather than handling alcohol and drug use as an issue that can be solved by developing policies at an administrative or educational level, Lewis said that this “complex problem” on campus can be approached by “building on the strengths of what this campus is about — research and teaching.”

Sonnenstuhl added that the issue of drug and alcohol use and abuse has to be addressed by all members of the community, including students, faculty and administrators.

“Unless you involve students in some meaningful dialogue [such as the Trice Award], nothing is going to happen. That’s just a reality,” he said.

The award is named for Prof. Harrison Trice, who died 1994. As a professor in ILR from 1955 to 1990, Trice was heavily involved in workplace alcohol issues and the issue of alcohol and drug abuse in American society. He conducted his research in close cooperation with Cornell students and local organizations.

The deadline for the submissions is March 15.

Archived article by Janet Liao