Student Health Services


Faculty and Staff Resources

This page contains content related to helping students with issues related to alcohol and other drugs (AOD) OR behaviors that may be related to substance abuse.

If you have a question or would like to discuss a student, you may contact:


What does WCU offer or require of students in regard to alcohol education?

1. Parents of incoming first year students get a letter from Dr. Matt Bricketto, WCU VP for Student Affairs. 

    The letter outlines the concerns and initiatives related to AOD use and abuse.

2. All incoming students under the age of 21 are required to complete the Alcohol EDU web-based

    education program.

3. Residential students attend mandatory hall meetings the first evening on campus to talk about campus
    life and policies.  The WCU Code of Conduct outlines all campus policies and possible consequences
    related to alcohol and drug possession and use.

4.  The WCU Office of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drug (ATOD) Programs offers programs for student
      groups and organizations. These programs focus on a "harm reduction" model of discussion about

      AOD use.  Students can make an appointment with a staff member to discuss individual concerns; all

     conversations are confidential.


Why does WCU get involved in this issue?

Alcohol and drug abuse by today’s young adults is a topic of great concern that is frequently in the news, and college campuses are not immune from such problems.  Every year, we hear accounts of students at colleges and universities who have died tragically after excessive alcohol or drug use.  In addition to these headlines, statistics indicate that students who drink to excess experience a variety of consequences such as missed classes, poor grades, injuries, assaults, and arrests.  WCU is committed to total development for students– both in the classroom and on campus. As harmful levels of alcohol use can impact safety and health, including brain development, we are committed to prevention and intervention initiatives.

Research on Alcohol’s Effects on the Adolescent Brain suggests that alcohol’s effects on memory and learning are much more severe in adolescents than in adults.

What is the philosophy guiding WCU initiatives and who directs the program?

Research indicates that heavy alcohol use in adolescents and young adults can impede brain development that takes place during this critical period of growth. (See national resources below).

WCU has a campus ATOD Work Group to oversee planning and implementation of evidence informed (research based) initiatives related to AOD use and college students and campuses (see NIAAA site below). Our initiatives are guided by a Harm Reduction model, which focuses on helping students make decisions that minimize risks (legal, healthy, academic, social) that can result from dangerous drinking or drug use.  Harm reduction focuses on the effects of consumption on the individual and the community.

The Office of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drug (ATOD) Programs is part of Student Health Services and is located in Commonwealth Hall..  The coordinator is Mary Jane Rogan, CRNP.

Our initiatives are focused on helping students stay safe, healthy, and trouble free if they choose to drink.  This includes offering many late night alternatives such as Sykes After Dark, cultural performances, athletic events, and residence hall social events.

What services are available to students who may want to talk about alcohol or drug use?

Our campus services and initiatives are geared towards prevention of dangerous alcohol use and early identification of students in-need.

All conversations about alcohol or other drug use are confidential.  Students may contact any of the following on-campus resources or community resources.

How strictly are campus policies and state laws enforced? What happens to students who are cited for a violation of state law or campus policy?

All campus policies are outlined in the Code of Conduct, and are strictly enforced. In the residence halls, all staff (security guards, residence life staff) who suspect alcohol use must call the WCU Department of Public Safety.  DPS officers will evaluate the student; students who are found to be intoxicated may be held at the public safety building, or, if seriously impaired, transported to the local emergency department for evaluation and care.

Students who are in violation of state law are subject to both state penalties and campus judicial process .

How can I learn more about recognizing signs of AOD abuse and talking with students?                                                                                                           

Partners in Prevention: is a voluntary training program developed by WCU faculty members, Dr. Jim Brenner and Dr. Lynn Hamelton.  PIP Training teaches faculty, staff and students how to identify and respond to issues related to student alcohol and other drug abuse. The PIP site includes a workshop schedule, training materials and video examples of "carefrontation" conversations.

Where can I learn more about AOD issues and state and national resources?

The PA Liquor Control Board (PLCB), Department of Alcohol Education offers links to information about laws, penalties, statistics, and more.

In 2002, The National Institute of Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse (NIAAA) released the groundbreaking report, A Call to Action: Changing the Culture of Drinking at U.S. Colleges. This report contains comprehensive research-based information on issues related to alcohol abuse and binge drinking among college students.

Fascinating research on alcohol use and brain development of young adults indicates that heavy alcohol use has a negative impact on important brain development.

Alcohol, College Students and Blackouts, Aaron White, Ph.D

According to recent findings, the human brain does not reach full maturity until at least the mid-20s. The MIT Young Adult Development Project web site highlights the powerful new research findings that are emerging about young adulthood and to make these insights more accessible to those who need them.