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Minnesota State University, Mankato

Minnesota State University, Mankato

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Page address: http://www.mnsu.edu/mssa/news/html/Community_problem.html

A community problem

Two MSSA senators attend high-risk drinking coalition

by Dannielle Higginbotham

Issue date: 02/05/09 Section: Campus News
When Minnesota State Student Association members Brett Anderson and Joshua Gladis first arrived at the meeting for the High Risk Drinking Coalition, they didn't think they would be very welcome.

"We didn't know what we were there for," Gladis said. "Students haven't been told about these meetings and we didn't know if we had any input."

As it turns out, student input was what the coalition wanted all along.

"I was absolutely surprised at how open they are," Anderson said.

"They said they'd rather have more students there than members," Gladis said.

The purpose of the coalition, which formed in 2003, is to address the high risk and extreme drinking behaviors in the community.

"Right now the coalition is proposing a constitution that will guide their purpose and mission." Anderson said. "It will also be a backbone for acquiring grant money."

Currently, members are paying for group expenses out-of-pocket.

Gladis said he appreciates how the coalition looks at the drinking issue as a community, not university, issue.

"They want to address the problem as a whole," Gladis said. "They're trying to reach out for common ground and see where students and the community stand."

"It's not all a student problem and they recognize that," Gladis said. "They're also talking about things like DWIs."

Gladis said the coalitiion recognizes that many of the problems began in high school.

Hr said the coalition, made of administration members of Mankato public schools and other members of the community, would like to get involved in the alcohol forums the school holds.

"They didn't even know we had them going on," Gladis said. "They're interested in seeing how things go."

Gladis said the coalition is also interested in attending an MSSA meeting in the near future.

He said he feels this is a move forward as far as uniting the university with the rest of the city.

"I believe this was the first step towards addressing the issue as a community and not a university," Gladis said. "The coalition wants our input as students. They recognize that students are disenfranchised in this whole issue and they want students to speak up."

"It does not only affect college students, in starts at the high school level," he said. "We need to reach out to the whole community."

The High Risk Drinking Coalition holds meetings at 3:30 p.m. the first Monday of every month in the community room at Snell Motors. The coalition and MSSA members hope to soon move their meetings to somewhere closer to campus.

Dannie Higginbotham is a Reporter staff writer