Oglethorpe Uses Governor’s Office of Highway Safety Grant to Help Protect and Promote Students’ Well-Being

Since 2008, Oglethorpe University has been awarded an annual grant from the The Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. The grant promotes and raises awareness for highway safety issues, and thanks to Leanne Henry-Miller, director of counseling services, Oglethorpe has continued to benefit from this grant in some amazing ways.

Four Oglethorpe students participate in a banner competition about bullying at the Bacchus conference. Their participation was made possible by the grant from The Governor's Office for Highway Safety.

In 2008, the grant was fundamental in establishing the OU Alcohol and Drug Task Force. Members Gaby Pierce ’16, Zena Stephens ’13, Lukas Strasser ’14 and Katie Galli ’15 have been integral in tightening the alcohol and drug policy on campus and making sure students are more informed about sanctions. For example, this task force helped to establish the Good Samaritan Policy, which protects a student from being punished if he seeks help in an alcohol or drug-related emergency.  In general, the Task Force stresses a need for uniform, clearly defined policies in regards to alcohol and drug sanctions.

Similarly, the grant is a primary sponsor of Peer Education training, which is a program targeted toward leaders on campus. This spring, nine students completed the training, and learned how to respond to dangerous campus situations and how to lead through positive examples.

“Anyone who’s interested in being a leader on campus should (consider) this training,” said Leanne. “RAs, RHs, group leaders… it’s important for all gate keepers.”

Additionally, the grant provided funds to take students to the Bacchus Network Area 9 Conference. These students (Everett Jackson ’15, Gaby Pierce ’16, Brian Cornelius ’15 and Precious Goto ’16) participated in a banner competition about bullying, as well as a contest to see who could make the best Iron Chef “mocktail” (a cocktail without alcohol).

The grant also covers the cost for Alcohol e-CheckUpToGo, an online test for students who are concerned about their alcohol intake or who have been sanctioned.

Finally, the grant covers portions of speakers’ visits, such as Elaine Pasqua’s Orientation Presentation: “Sex and Excess: Surviving the Party,” which discussed how alcohol is usually a factor in sexual assault.

“The speakers are targeted towards freshmen because we know those first six weeks have high-risk behavior,” explained Leanne. “(We also) bring in speakers who target Greek life and athletes.”

Thanks to this grant, our campus has become better educated about drug risks and sanctions. Our student leaders have learned how to help their peers during moments of distress, and online tests have become available for those who are concerned about their alcohol consumption. Thanks in part to the Highway Safety Grant, Oglethorpe is becoming a safer, more informed campus, with students who are better prepared for emergencies and ready to lead their peers by example.

The Counseling Services at Oglethorpe is always ready to listen. If you have any alcohol or drug-related concerns, contact Leanne Henry-Miller at 404-364-3415.

Oglethorpe Student Helps to Define Her Generation

During her freshman year, Zena Stephens ’13 passed by a rehab center here in Atlanta and realized she had decision to make: she could shake her head and keep walking or do something.

She chose the latter and, along with a friend, started Generation Outreach (or Team G.O.) a nonprofit organization that focuses on improving the lives of underprivileged individuals in the community. Team G.O., which finances its efforts through fundraisers and community events, consists of youth volunteers all under the age of 25.

Based in Zena’s hometown of Miami, Florida, Team G.O.’s efforts are already visible in Orlando, Miami, and Atlanta in less than a year of operation. Team G.O. works with local organizations to identify social issues in the community and how to solve them. “[We] can no longer just see underprivileged individuals and just give them money or things of that nature, ” Zena explained, “[we] need to take a more hands on approach.”  And hands-on, she did.

One of Team G.O.’s first projects was “When I Grow Up,” a program designed to provide school uniforms and supplies to select elementary school students in the Miami-Dade school district, who could not afford them. To fund these efforts, Zena and Team G.O. produced a community talent showcase to raise awareness and funds. But despite their best intentions, Team G.O. wasn’t always received well.   Continue reading