New program promotes safe partying choices

Melissa Last

A new peer-mentoring program, aimed at educating and encouraging students towards safe partying, is beginning at Lafayette.

L-DAPA, which stands for Lafayette Drug and Alcohol Peer Advisors, hopes to gain student attention and fill an influential niche in student life. According to Program Assistant for Alcohol and Other Drug Services Steff Falzone, students involved in the program, aptly named L-DAPAs, are “health opinion leaders who serve as drug and alcohol resources for their peers.”

L-DAPAs intend to mollify the occasionally dangerous or mishandled Lafayette party scene by promoting safe partying through education of their peers, launching marketing campaigns, and promoting strong involvement on campus.

Alcohol and drug offenses, when collected together, account for most of the crimes committed on Lafayette’s campus. According to the records kept by Public Safety in their Federal Campus Crime Report, in 2013 there were 142 Liquor Law violations committed on campus, and 17 charges of drug possession. These statistics only represent those violations recorded by public safety.

The hope for the program is not the quixotic vision of a dry campus, but a more educated, better prepared student body. According National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, four out of every five college-aged students consume alcohol, and half of those who do drink participate in dangerous activities such as binge drinking. Additionally, the NIAAA reports that about 1,825 college-aged students (18 to 24 years old) die annually from unintentional alcohol-related injuries.

L-DAPA is different than Lafayette’s traditional approach to alcohol and drug education. Peers who understand student life and are of a presumably better understood, non-judgemental position will facilitate it.

“Students have a strong and caring bond with one another and the L-DAPAs serve to strengthen those bonds by arming their peers with knowledge and encouraging them to stay safe and party smart,” Falzone said.

According to the recruiting posters up around campus, L-DAPA program is looking for engaged students interested in peer mentoring, meeting new people and are excited by the prospect of coordinating drug and alcohol programs for the student body. Interested students are able to apply on-line at studentlife.lafayette.edu/resources or email [email protected] for more information.