Creating a consistent message regarding the alcohol policy is the main goal of newly appointed Substance Abuse Prevention Specialist Mark Fisher.
A former counselor at New Horizons Treatment Services as well as an adjunct counselor in Rider’s Counseling Office at Westminster Choir College, Fisher was hired Sept. 10.
He wants the various clubs and organizations, such as SGA and Greek Life, to come together and have one unified message in relation to the school’s alcohol policy.
“Education is the best thing we can do; try to be proactive,” Fisher said.
Another step that will help the new alcohol policy is the creation of Rider Initiative for Substance-Abuse Education (RISE), he said. Like several other college programs that specialize in alcohol and drug awareness, RISE will educate students on the dangers of alcohol abuse and discuss in detail aspects of drinking such as binge drinking, signs of problematic drinkers, myths and facts about drinking and tips for safe partying.
The idea of the RISE program came at a time when Rider was once again in the news for an incident at a fraternity house. Last Friday, the incident allegedly took place in the basement of Zeta Beta Tau, where two young men, one a Rider student, the other a visiting guest, had an altercation which ended with the guest in the hospital.
Different sources have different ideas as to what happened that Friday morning. Fisher said there was no party, as the brawl took place at 4 a.m., but that both individuals had been drinking. No one seems to know what started the fight or exactly what happened. Fisher said there was no party or violation of the alcohol policy precipitating the fight.
Fisher said his direction will not change as a result of the incident. He is still planning on reaching out to Greek Life as well as to other students.
In order to educate the Rider community, Fisher is currently talking to several students and meeting as many people as possible. His goal of reaching out to the community involves residents and commuters on both the Lawrenceville and Princeton campuses. Fisher is also in communication with the Lawrence Township Police Department.
Fisher places heavy emphasis on education. He said his job is “not the enforcement of the rules,” but rather to “outreach, educate and coordinate with a slight counseling aspect.” For the time being, Fisher’s office is located in Zoerner House, but he says he plans on moving his office to the student center and hopes to specialize in both alcohol and drug issues.
Fisher remains strong on educating and supporting the Rider community. His goal of creating one unified and cohesive message on alcohol abuse and awareness within the community has remained the same. He plans to continue talking to many students and increasing their knowledge about the dangers of substance abuse.