Two candidates outlined their visions for the Center for Alcohol and other Drug Education’s top office last week, in their vie for the position that has been vacant since 2008.
The candidates, both female and recent college graduates, have experience in substance abuse prevention, but did not delve into explicit details of their goals and plans for the position during presentations last week.
The associate director of CADE is in charge of the University’s substance education and abuse prevention programming, including the “BeWiser” campaign, Responsible Alcohol Manager training and student organization event registration.
Assistant Dean of Students Tara Pereira, who oversees CADE, said her staff will meet Tuesday to discuss the candidates. She hoped a decision would be made in time for the new leader to begin in January, although she said the position will reopen if neither candidate is chosen.
“In a candidate, I am looking for fit with students and the campus culture, the ability to lead, an alignment of philosophies between the candidate and the University, relevant alcohol and other drug experience in a college or university setting and violence prevention experience,” Pereira said.
Candidate Alexis Janda is the coordinator for the alcohol and other drug education program at Fordham University’s Lincoln Center campus. She graduated from the University of Maryland in 2010 with a master’s degree in higher education administration.
Janda suggested that smaller decisions – such as what a student does on a Friday night – ultimately determine their regular behaviors.
“What are your values, what do you value and what’s important to you in your life? Oftentimes, I don’t find that students are actively thinking about that,” she said. “They’re not thinking about how those little decisions impact their life on a larger scale.”
Janda temporarily lived in a fraternity house to mentor students about alcohol and drug consumption, an experience that she said helped her to develop a student-friendly approach to substance education.
“Drug and alcohol education and sexual assault prevention is a tough area, and for a lot of students it’s an awkward area, and if I can be that person that they feel okay with in talking about it, then that’s what I want to do,” Janda said.
Megan Stahl, the other candidate, emphasized a hands-on approach to guiding students during her presentation.
Stahl – a drug and alcohol counselor at Summit Medical Group – graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 2011 with a graduate degree in student affairs in higher education.
“If I’m missing lunch because there’s a student in a crisis situation, then I’m missing lunch,” Stahl said.
She said students are autonomous in their decisions about alcohol, so substance education must go beyond telling students what to do.
“We’re really looking to arm students with the information and resources necessary to make healthy decisions,” Stahl said of her goals.
Stahl said her presentation exhibited her personality, skill set and experience, while Janda said she hoped to spark a dialogue about decision-making.
A third unnamed candidate, who was scheduled to present Dec. 2, withdrew for personal reasons.
The Center for Alcohol and other Drug Education’s associate directorship has been vacant since 2008 when Brian Hamluk left the position. Katie Bean served as assistant director of GW’s substance control office, but left in early September for a similar position at St. Joseph’s University.
Pereira, who assumed a more active role in CADE to compensate for the vacancy, has emphasized her hope that the new leader would have collegiate experience with preventing substance abuse and violence.
The coming year will see a comprehensive evaluation of CADE’s performance and opportunities for growth.
This article was updated on Dec. 5, 2011 to reflect the following:
The Hatchet erroneously reported that Brian Hamluk left the University. In fact, he left his position for another at GW.