Nordenberg receives $50,000 award for curbing campus alcohol use

By Lindsay Carroll

Chancellor Nordenberg received a $50,000 award yesterday for his work to “create an… Chancellor Nordenberg received a $50,000 award yesterday for his work to “create an environment where learning and campus life are not undermined by the misuse of alcohol.”

He was honored by The Gordie Foundation at a ceremony at the University Club. The Gordie Foundation is a nonprofit organization started by Leslie and Michael Lanahan after their son, 18-year-old University of Colorado freshman Gordie Bailey, died of alcohol poisoning in 2004. Bailey had been at college for only three weeks.

Lanahan said in a news release that school administrators can significantly reduce the amount of alcohol-related deaths on college campuses.

“The highly effective campus programs that Chancellor Nordenberg has set in place provide a great foundation for other schools to create their own plans of educating students about the dangers of alcohol,” she said.

The foundation praised Nordenberg for implementing policies and programs that decrease alcohol use on campus.

The University instituted several new initiatives to curb student alcohol use in 2006, according to a news release from Pitt’s Division of Student Affairs. For instance, the University provided an alcohol education program for students to complete online, called the “Alcohol Wise Program.” Of this year’s freshman class, 94 percent of students completed the program, the release said.

Pitt also began alcohol-specific training for resident assistants, freshman peer counselors with University Admissions and First Year Mentors with Student Life, the release said.

It referenced the Late-Night Mini-Grant program, which awards funds to organizations that hold late night and weekend alcohol alternative programs, as well as residence hall programming and the creation of Nordy’s Place.

Student surveys show that during the past 18 to 24 months, 12 percent fewer Pitt students engage in high risk or “binge” drinking, Twenty percent fewer report negative academic consequences of alcohol use, 61 percent more report receiving information from the University on alcohol and 36 percent fewer students reported driving after drinking.

The release did not give exact numbers or state what past percentages were.