Archive for January, 2010

Leadership Changes at Choose Responsibility

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

Dr. John McCardell, the founder and President of Choose Responsibility and a national advocate for the drinking age debate, will step down as President of the organization effective June 30, 2010 to take on the role of 16th Vice Chancellor and President of Sewanee: The University of the South. Barrett Seaman, a founding member of Choose Responsibility’s Board of Directors, will replace Dr. McCardell as President on July 1.

Since founding Choose Responsibility three years ago, Dr. McCardell has helped bring the issues of binge and underage drinking to national prominence with appearances on CBS’ 60 Minutes, Comedy Central’s Colbert Report, and hundreds of radio, television, and print outlets across the country. In August 2008 he helped launch the Amethyst Initiative, a declaration signed by 135 college and university presidents calling for an open debate about the effectiveness of Legal Age 21 in higher education. Though he will be stepping down as President, Dr. McCardell will remain an active voice in the national debate and will maintain a leadership role in expanding the reach of the Amethyst Initiative.

“I am excited about this presidency and the opportunities it represents,” said Dr. McCardell.  “Among those is the credibility that comes from speaking about this important issue on the basis of first-hand experience.  I intend to continue to be an active participant in the discussion about alcohol and its place in the lives of young adults, and to mobilize the resources and influence of the higher education community to insist that our elected representatives have the freedom to debate the effectiveness of current laws unimpeded by the threat of federal highway withholding.  We cannot continue to debate the problems of 2010 with the language and the assumptions of 1984.  New occasions teach new duties.  I am confident that Choose Responsibility will continue to be a forceful, articulate, and reasoned voice in the ongoing public debate.”

Mr. Seaman is the author of Binge: Campus Life in an Age of Disconnection and Excess. Published in 2005 by Wiley, the book is widely considered a must-read for the parents of every college-bound student. Choosing 12 colleges, including Harvard, Berkeley, Duke and Stanford, Seaman spent two years living at colleges and investigating campus life. A graduate and a charter trustee of Hamilton College, Seaman is a former Time magazine correspondent and editor. His August 2005 piece in Time titled, “How Bingeing Became the New College Sport” served as a wakeup call to parents across the country, and his appearances in debates and on television, including The Today Show and The Dr. Phil Show, have helped bring the issue of toxic drinking to an even wider audience.

“It is a challenge to take up the mantle John leaves as he returns to the academic world,” said Seaman. “But Choose Responsibility has a great board, a great staff and a lot of momentum as it carries this cause into a new decade.”

Wall Street Journal: New Technology Tries to Curb Drunk Driving

Monday, January 4th, 2010

Stephanie Simon of the Wall Street Journal ended 2009 with a report about some new technologies to curb drunk driving that are aimed at younger drinkers. State officials across the country have realized that drinkers under the age of 35 are “least likely to tune into the radio spots, billboards and newspaper ads traditionally used to warn about the dangers of driving while impaired,” and they are now turning to social networking sites, iPhone apps, and simulations at concerts and football games to get the message across.

Simon’s report focused on a new iPhone app that estimates blood alcohol content by tracking a user’s alcohol intake and weight. While some prevention officials recognize that new technologies like these are needed to reach young drinkers, others are concerned that they could easily become drinking games that foster excessive consumption.

What do you think? Can these new tools be effective, or will they encourage dangerous drinking? Let us know in the comments.