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May 17, 1999

Middlebury College to Host Alcohol Symposium on June 13-14

"From High School to College: The Binge Drinking Dilemma; Forming Alliances" - Secondary schools in Vermont and eight other states will attend

How can high schools and colleges work together to address student drinking behaviors? To explore that question, Middlebury College is sponsoring a symposium on June 13-14 titled, "From High School to College: The Binge Drinking Dilemma; Forming Alliances." Symposium organizers have invited teams of representatives from 20 secondary schools representing a national sample of schools from which the College draws its students. The teams include the principal or headmaster, the dean of students or the equivalent, and a concerned parent from the parents' association.

Representatives from 18 schools across the country, including three in Vermont--Middlebury Union High School, Rutland High School, and Champlain Valley Union High School--have confirmed that they will attend. Prior to the symposium, organizers will collect information on the current alcohol policies and student drinking issues at each of the participating schools.

According to Mike Schoenfeld, Middlebury College dean of enrollment planning, the College is hosting the symposium because alcohol abuse, particularly binge drinking, is a national problem that affects students and learning at high schools and colleges alike. "The research indicates that the majority of students who indulge in binge drinking at college begin drinking while in high school. The goal of the symposium is to examine the binge drinking dilemma as concerned parents and educators, and to explore ways in which colleges and high schools can work together to address the problem," said Schoenfeld.

Middlebury College President John M. McCardell, Jr. will welcome the participants and launch the symposium on Sunday, June 13. The keynote speaker will be Dr. Henry Wechsler, a nationally recognized expert on the binge drinking epidemic on college campuses and a lecturer on social psychology at the Harvard School of Public Health. He will present data from his 1997 study on binge drinking rates among college students and the negative outcomes for the community at large.

Other symposium events on Sunday include a panel discussion of professionals from the ranks of secondary school headmasters and counselors.

On Monday, June 14, Yonna McShane, Middlebury College director of health and wellness education and sexual harassment prevention programs, will lead the morning session, "Informed Choices: Transitioning to College with the Advent of Binge Drinking." The two-day event will conclude with discussions of possible outcomes from the symposium.

"We hope that this symposium will initiate an ongoing dialogue between administrators at Middlebury and representatives from the participating high schools on the topic of binge drinking," said Schoenfeld. "We want to share information and hear suggestions."

To date, representatives from the following 18 schools have confirmed that they will attend: Brunswick School, Greenwich, Conn.; Champlain Valley Union High School, Hinesburg, Vt.; Choate Rosemary Hall, Wallingford, Conn.; Columbus School for Girls, Columbus, Ohio; Deerfield Academy, Deerfield, Mass.; Delbarton School, Morristown, N.J.; Hanover High School, Hanover, N.H.; Horace Greeley School, Chappaqua, N.Y.; Lakeside School, Seattle, Wash.; Lawrenceville School, Lawrenceville, N.J.; Lexington High School, Lexington, Mass.; Middlebury Union High School, Middlebury, Vt.; New Trier High School, Winnetka, Ill.; Phillips Academy, Andover, Mass.; Rutland High School, Rutland, Vt.; St. Sebastians School, Needham, Mass.; Taft School, Watertown, Conn.; University School, Hunting Valley, Ohio.