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UW-Eau Claire Hires Project Coordinator for the Center for Alcohol Studies and Education

RELEASED: Sept. 9, 2005

Melodee Hoffner
Photo by Rick Mickelson, LTS

EAU CLAIRE — Melodee A. Hoffner has been hired as the alcohol education coordinator for the Center for Alcohol Studies and Education at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire.

Hoffner, who started in the campus position Sept. 6, has experience working with college-age students, including an internship in the counseling office at UW-Stout.

"Melodee is a perfect fit for the position," said Jodi Thesing-Ritter, associate dean of student development. "She brings a wealth of wellness education experience as well as a counseling background and a keen understanding of environmental change. These assets will help us to reach our goal of reducing high-risk drinking on our campus."

In her new position, Hoffner will be part of a team of university and community partners who are leading alcohol education and prevention initiatives, said Dr. Nina Albanese-Kotar, psychologist in UW-Eau Claire's Counseling Services and director of the recently created Center for Alcohol Studies and Education.

"Melodee will be an important addition to the Eau Claire team," Albanese-Kotar said. "With campus and community leaders involved in the effort, we truly are a team and everyone has a contribution to make. She is a splendid addition to our campus."

This summer, UW-Eau Claire received a $300,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Education to help support the Center, which includes an initiative aimed at reducing rates of drinking among first-year students.

The Center encourages collaboration among the university, Eau Claire City-County Health Department, law enforcement, alcohol distributors, parents and students in its alcohol education and prevention efforts, Albanese-Kotar said.

The goals of the grant program include increasing awareness of the consequences of high-risk drinking, enhancing enforcement of state laws and university policies regarding underage and high-risk drinking, reducing the number of students who drink and drive, combating pre-college students' perceptions that underage and high-risk drinking are "rights of passage," and reducing the negative consequences of underage and high-risk drinking among first-year students.

The grant also will fund 16 grants for faculty-student undergraduate research projects on physiological, social and other aspects of alcohol abuse as well as identifying best practices for reducing high-risk drinking.

To encourage faculty participation in changing campus culture, the program includes a faculty workshop and a $100 honorarium for First Year Experience course instructors. Local alcohol distributors will fund speakers and materials for the faculty workshop.

The Center for Alcohol Studies and Education is located in Old Library 2104, 2106 and 2108. The phone number is (715) 836-5111.

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JB

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