Penn State Berks among colleges and organizations to receive PLCB grant

Berks County communities working to help teenagers and young adults better understand the consequences of drinking and alcohol abuse received nearly $260,000 in grants from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board.

Sen. Judy Schwank, Rep. Tom Caltagirone, and PLCB Chairman Tim Holden announced the grant recipients today during a press conference at Penn State Berks. Representatives from area colleges and municipal governments joined them.

?Our purpose here today is not to take credit, get attention, or seek congratulations,? Sen. Schwank said. ?Instead, we gather here today to share some great news: three of our local colleges and universities, two local governments, two police forces, and one school district have been awarded nearly $260,000 in grants from the PLCB to better help our children who might be tempted by underage drinking.?

?With the PLCB?s help, these Berks County communities and organizations will use these new investments to make lives better for minors, their families and the neighborhoods they call home,? Rep. Caltagirone said. ??Drink Responsibly? is a marketing slogan that is too often ignored by minors and these funds will be used to raise awareness of the dangers and consequences of underage drinking.?

Penn State Berks is receiving $21,817; the PLCB is awarding nearly $2.3 million in grants to organizations statewide.

In Berks County, there are eight award recipients: Kutztown University, Kutztown School District, Kutztown Borough, Wyomissing Borough Police, Alvernia University, Penn State Berks Campus Police, Albright College, and Spring Township Police Department.

Penn State Berks plans to put the funding to good use in support of the Penn State Berks Underage Alcohol Enforcement Campaign. The goal is to educate all Penn State Berks students on the social norms of alcohol consumption and offer information on the consequences of underage drinking, including citations and University sanctions for any alcohol violations.

"This grant will continue to provide us with the opportunity to educate students about the dangers and ramifications of alcohol consumption with innovative educational programs,? explained Penn State Berks Police Chief Kevin Rudy.

The program will include mandatory first-year seminars, increased police patrols on campus and for off-campus student housing with neighboring jurisdictions on historically higher drinking nights. In addition, a mock DUI crash will be scheduled and distracted driving simulators will be utilized as an educational program. CORE surveys will be used to develop statistical data to evaluate the effectiveness of the programs offered. The anticipated result is to reduce the number of alcohol-related violations for Penn State Berks.

Penn State Berks Police Officer Joel Avram, who participated in writing the grant proposal for the college, added, "The PLCB has continued to show that they are a valued partner with Penn State Berks and the other colleges, universities, and law enforcement agencies in support of alcohol education and enforcement."

?We appreciate the support of Senator Schwank and Representative Caltagirone and of Chairman Tim Holden of the PLCB in helping us to address what is a serious national challenge of educating students and young adults about the laws regarding underage alcohol consumption and the dangers to themselves and others that are created through binge drinking and alcohol abuse,? stated Dr. R. Keith Hillkirk, Chancellor of Penn State Berks.