University of Vermont

Coalition to Create a Quality Learning Environment

RWJF Grant Steering Committee Plans for the Final Year of the Grant

The Steering Committee of the Coalition to Create a Quality Learning Environment has begun the fourth and final year of work with the Matter of Degree Grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The RWJF awarded a grant to UVM in 1996 in an effort to address high-risk drinking. Since that time, a steering committee, comprised of faculty, staff, students and key individuals from the Burlington area, has worked to change policy on campus and in Burlington in an effort to reduce high-risk drinking. The focus of the Committee's work this year will be on four target areas:
  • Environment- Developing a responsible alcohol service training for City licensees and their staffs.
  • Alcohol Incident Response and Prevention - Continuing to ensure that on and off campus alcohol violations have a timely, effective response.
  • Creating a Sense of Belonging - Providing programming funds for student and community groups through the mini-grant process, developing a social norms campaign to correct misrepresentation about student drinking.
  • Communication - Promoting campus-wide and community-wide understanding of the health issues related to high-risk drinking, working with other Vermont colleges to strengthen our statewide collaboration and conveying alcohol policy and procedure changes and updates to the UVM and Burlington communities.

Mini-Grants Available

Attention all students and community members! Announcing the availability of programming funds for students, community members and groups interested in providing alcohol-free events for the campus and greater Burlington community. A limited amount of funds up to $500 per event is available in order to help off-set the cost of an event. The money can be used for marketing and advertising of the event, also for food/meals, and entertainment/speakers. This money is intended to be seed money for alcohol-free programs and events with the hope that increased funds will help facilitate programming on campus and in the community. In order to apply for a mini-grant there is an application available on the UVM web at under the subheading of mini-grants. The Coalition to Create a Quality Learning Environment reviews requests for programming money, twice a month, so please plan ahead to allow ample time for the application process to take place.

How the RWJF Grant has Influnced Life at UVM and in Burlington over the Last Three Years

Over the past several years of addressing the many issues surrounding the culture of high-risk drinking on UVM's campus and in the greater Burlington community, there has been much progress towards "creating a quality learning environment."
  • Burlington Police Department and the Department of Liquor Control have increased their efforts to target high-risk drinking in Burlington.
  • 790 parental notification letters have been sent to UVM parents.
  • UVM's judicial caseload has decreased 19% from 2, 022 cases in the '94-'95 school year to 1651 cases in '99-'00.
  • The number of UVM students taken to detox has decreased 40% from 104 in '95-'96 to 66 in '99-'00.
  • There has been a 17% increase since 1993 in the number of first-year students reporting that they have received information about the long-term health effects of drinking.
  • There has been a 20% increase since 1993 in the number of first-year students reporting that they received information about the dangers of alcohol overdose.
  • The number of students choosing substance-free housing options on campus continues to increase each year.
  • The number of UVM students reporting binge-drinking has dropped from 65% in 1997 to 61% in 2000.

UVM and the City of Burlington - Building Community

Since the beginning of UVM's academic year in August, there have been a number of community building activities that have occurred that strengthen the link between the UVM and Burlington communities. Before classes even began, the Connections Program for all new UVM students held a concert at the top of Church Street to introduce the new students to life not only at UVM but in Burlington as well. In September, the Church Street Marketplace held the annual Marketfest event in which UVM clubs and organizations were invited to participate. Homecoming and Family Weekend in October was the first time that UVM's Homecoming parade was routed to end in downtown Burlington. Following the parade, the Homecoming Fest took place on Church Street. These events have helped strengthen the positive relationship that the UVM community and the city of Burlington share.

Are You Interested in Substance-Free Life at UVM?

There are many resources on campus for students who are interested in becoming involved with substance-free activities and groups on campus. Here is a short list of contact information:
  • Substance-Free living in the residence halls. Contact the Department of Residential Life to learn more. 656-3434 or
  • The OPT Program in the Living and Learning Center. Through Opt, students will have the ability to meet other non, or low risk, users and to find enjoyable and substance free ways to spend their free time. Visit their web-site at or email to learn more.
  • Center for Health and Wellbeing and Alcohol and Drug Services are a great resource for students interested in the health issues associated with the use and abuse of alcohol and drugs. For more information visit the Center's web-page at

UVM Judicial System Continues Parental Notification

A year has passed since The University of Vermont began notifying parents of their student's involvement in alcohol and drug related judicial cases. Last year, 790 letters were sent to students' parents. While most parents alike have expressed appreciation for being notified, some students have been less supportive. The letter that is sent home is designed to alert parents to the situation involving their student while protecting the student's confidentiality with regard to the details of the case.

For years, parents had expressed concern that they had no idea their son or daughter was experiencing problems until it was too late to help them. The process at UVM was designed to facilitate a conversation between a student and his or her parent and reduce the likelihood of additional problems. As the number of judicial cases heard each year has decreased, the positive influence of parental awareness of the process can not be overlooked.

Did you Know about the VTC?

The Vermont State Legislature created a new procedure for addressing the underage possession of alcohol. Anyone who is found to be in violation of the law regarding the underage possession and consumption of alcohol can be issued a Vermont Traffic Complaint (VTC). This ticket carries with it a fine of $267 and a referral to alcohol and drug education services within the state. If a student is issued a VTC for an on-campus offense, that student will be processed through UVM's judicial system and referred to UVM's Alcohol and Drug Services with no additional to the fine.

Substance-Free Housing Options Increase

The University recognizes that the illegal use and abuse of alcohol and other drugs threatens the well-being of the community as well as the individual user. We hope that members of the University community acknowledge that substance abuse constitutes a threat to the educational mission and purposes of the University.

The number of students choosing to live in substance-free residence halls and floors has grown from 25 in 1994-1995 to 151 in 2000-2001. There are now a variety of substance-free living options including two entire residence hall floors, an entire residence hall - Redstone Hall - and a specific suite in the Living and Learning Center - the OPT program.

A Full UVM Police Service

The University of Vermont Police Services has filled all of the necessary officer positions and have been completely staffed since the beginning of the 2000 Fall Semester. There are a total of 22 officers, 5 dispatchers and 4 service officers on staff. Police Services is also pleased to report the hiring of Captain Lianne Tuomey, formerly of the Burlington Police Department, who is serving as the director of operations within the department.

This increase in staff does not mean that there are more officers on duty at any given time on campus, but the officers do have an opportunity to participate in more community-based initiatives. The UVM Police and the Burlington Police have been collaborating to address and curb the problems that DUI offenders present to the greater Burlington community.

Keep Us Informed

The success of a campus and community partnership depends upon the work of the entire community. If you would like more information about anything in this newsletter, or if you are working to reduce high risk drinking and would like to share information with the community, please contact a member of the steering committee:
Pat Brown - Director, Student Life
Peter Clavelle - Mayor, Burlington
Enrique Corredera - Director, University Communications
Rick Culliton - Assistant to the Vice President for Student Affairs
Joslyn DiRamio - Graduate Assistant
Anne Dorwalt - Site Evaluator
Gretchen Gross - Assistant Director, Center for Health and Wellbeing
Marisa Kelley - Vice President, Student Government Association
Estelle Maartmann-Moe - Director, Center for Health and Wellbeing
Gary Margolis - Chief, UVM Police Services
David Nestor - Vice President for Student Affairs
Tom Perras - Director, Alcohol and Drug Abuse Programs, Vermont Department of Health
Diane Sande - Faculty, School of Nursing
Annie Stevens - Associate Vice President for Student Affairs
Tom Tremblay - Deputy Chief, Burlington Police Department

Last modified March 28 2001 03:25 PM

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