Smithers Creates Interuniversity Group

Students take action for a safer party culture
ILR School
Monday, February 26, 2018

Campus “party culture” is frequently called out by the media as being too dangerous, and is characterized by incidents of excessive drinking and/or drug use, hazing and sexual assaults.

Many programs aimed at creating a safer campus environment have been implemented formally and informally by student organizations across campuses.

What is missing is a mechanism to share these positive student-led initiatives. In this context, the Smithers Institute at Cornell’s ILR School has invited student leaders involved in safe practices and learning around partying on campus to establish a working group that will inventory and share ideas.

Student leaders from MIT, University of Pennsylvania, Harvard University, Yale University, Princeton University, Villanova University, Lehigh University, Hofstra University and Tompkins Cortland Community College will travel to Ithaca to participate in the work group on March 16-17.

The group will produce a first of its kind report intended to highlight successful interventions and models used, as well as other brainstormed ideas to be tested.

Planning committee members are Lauren Goldstein, A&S ‘20, president of Cayuga’s Watchers; Dustin Liu ‘19, director of external operations for Cayuga’s Watchers; Associate Professor William Sonnenstuhl; Professor Samuel Bacharach, director of the Smithers Institute and the McKelvey-Grant Professor of Labor Management; and Katie Briggs, also of the Smithers Institute.

Talking about his expectations for the working group, Bacharach said, “If successful, this student-led group can be the catalyst for continuing dialogue. By sharing experiences, brainstorming and creating new initiatives, it is hoped that the number of negative student party incidents would be reduced.”

If this working group takes the first steps to long-term cross-campus ideation and collaboration to create and sustain positive student programs, I would consider it to be a major success.