The Harm Reduction Committee addresses topics concerning alcohol and other drug abuse prevention and is comprised of students, appointed faculty, and staff, and is co-chaired by the Wellness Director and the SGA Vice President for Student Affairs. The committee meets throughout the academic year on alternating Thursdays from 12:00-1:00pm and is open to anyone who wants to attend. Meeting time and location are published in the online campus calendar. The committee’s role is to make recommendations regarding policy, procedure, and best practices to appropriate groups, but we do not have the power to set or enforce policy.
Harm reduction can be defined as “a set of compassionate and pragmatic approaches for reducing harm associated with high-risk behaviors and improving quality of life . . . harm reduction reflects a humanistic perspective: people will make more health-positive choices if they have access to adequate support, empowerment, and education. Although the name ‘harm reduction’ does not hide its directive stance, it is increasingly recommended that affected individuals and their communities be involved in devising their own means of reducing harm and defining their own ends as to what harm reduction will comprise.” - Marlatt, G.A. et al., Harm Reduction: Pragmatic Strategies for Managing High-Risk Behaviors, 2012.
Major tasks for the Harm Reduction Committee include (but are certainly not limited to):
- Making recommendations about our current College alcohol and other drug policies, using the National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism’s (NIAAA) evidence-based, best practices as a framing document.
- Authoring the biennial review as required by the federal Safe Drug Free Schools and Campuses Act.
- Meeting with the organizers of large events to make harm-reductive recommendations for best practices and evaluating outcomes.
- Serving as a sounding board for individual or groups who want to advocate for changes to existing alcohol and other drug policies or programming.
- Engaging our community in conversations about positive culture change on campus, and empowering our students in using self-governance to meet this goal.
- Hosting and/or supporting events that engage our community in reflection and discussion, such as the 100 Days Party Alumni Pub night.
- Sharing information about alcohol and other drug programming, concerns, statistics, and outcomes on campus.
- Promoting conversations and collaboration across our campus and town community regarding alcohol and other drug issues.
- Advising the implementation of the NCAA Choices Grant awarded to the College for academic years 2012-2013, 2013-2014, 2014-2015.