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Fontbonne Receives $30,000 NCAA CHOICES Grant

As colleges around the country crack down on student alcohol consumption, Fontbonne University has received a $30,000 grant to proactively approach the issue. The NCAA awarded the university a three-year, $30,000 CHOICES grant to equip students with the knowledge and support needed to make smart decisions and prevent alcohol and substance abuse. The program kicked off Monday on the university's Clayton campus.

“A committee of seven students and six staff developed our NCAA grant request,” said Claudia Charles, director of Fontbonne’s counseling and wellness program and leader of the CHOICES implementation committee. “We want to provide our students with healthy alternatives that diminish reliance on easily available, negative coping mechanisms like alcohol. By increasing access to peer support, we will strengthen our campus experience and reduce the number of students who abandon their dreams of a college education when the going gets rough.”

The committee planned a variety of alternative activities for the 2013-2014 school year, and it established a social norming campaign to extinguish misnomers students have between perceptions of peer behavior and reality. This campaign includes a peer listening component known as STARS: Students Thinking & Acting Responsibly & Safely. STARS trains students to serve as nonjudgmental listeners for teammates, friends and classmates. The first cohort is comprised of a group of peer-nominated student-athletes representing each of Fontbonne’s athletic teams. As the program continues, it will expand and engage student representatives from each social organization on campus.

The NCAA CHOICES program was endowed by a $2.5 million gift by Anheuser-Busch Companies in 1991. Its goal is to help NCAA member institutions and conferences integrate athletics into larger campus-wide alcohol education efforts. CHOICES began awarding one-year project grants in 1991 and three-year project grants in 1998. It has awarded more than $5.7 million to 229 member institutions since program inception.

Learn more about becoming a student-athlete at Fontbonne.