13 months ago, people were saying that The Stepping Up Project would have
a hard time of trying to make headway in finding a way to mitigate excessive
drinking on campus. It was difficult, but there are a lot of positives
think the best news about the whole issue of excessive drinking is the
much-heightened awareness of the issue. Five years ago, when people were
talking about abusive drinking and its secondary effects, it was treated
as a joke and no one took it seriously. No one wanted to deal with it.
We find a very different scenario now.
I believe the level of education and awareness about this issue is much
higher. Rather than hearing that excessive drinking is just a rite of
passage, a stage that students go through, theres much more awareness
of the effects it can have on roommates and friends of the abusive drinker,
and theres much more interest in trying to come up with positive
The fact that the City Council is trying to deal with this issue now is
important, too. First they passed an ordinance directed against disorderly
houses. Then they considered drink specials and limiting people in bars
to age 21 and older. The City Council has been challenging bar owners
to come up with their own solutions to the problem. So theres more
The University has stepped up its efforts to provide programs at night.
Weve scheduled Night Games at the Field House, the various theme
dances such as the Valentines Dance in February, the special "Up
All Night" programs at the Iowa Memorial Union and the residence
halls, the alcohol-free tailgates at football games. They get accepted
slowly, but we find every year theres more and more agreement that
they are important. Ive been impressed by the public officials
buy-in as well as the students buy-in.
you been hearing from students on this issue? Will you be working with
University of Iowa Student Government?
has just done an on-line survey of students. Many students still dont
believe that anything can be done to reduce excessive drinking.
We have to find ways to get to the students early. They tell us, and we
already knew, that the problems with abusive drinking begin long before
they get to college. The problems begin in high school and even in junior
high. So Stepping Up is looking for ways to reach high schools with programs
This is a long-term change; it wont be quick. We are trying to take
a global view and change the whole environment. We understood when we
started Stepping Up that there werent any quick fixes. But we wanted
our community to be a model of trying to grapple with these issues. Were
still not where we want to be, but Im encouraged by what has happened
change gears now. Weve been talking with Nancy Baker, the new University
librarian, about her first impressions of the library and the challenges
she sees ahead. Now that were about to get the new library furniture
the students have been asking for, what are you hearing from students?
thing theyre very interested in is being able to extend the hours
that the library is open. So when we changed our fee structure, we devoted
at least 25 percent of the released funds to extending hours, improving
the furniture, giving students more access to digital resources, and improving
the electronic connections in the library. Students want to be able to
bring their laptops to the library and plug them in. Im most pleased
that weve been able to extend the hours that the Main Library is
open. I think as a university we certainly need to respond when our students
request more hours in the library. This is a good thing.
also been observing the staff of The Daily Iowan as they plan and
produce the paper. Its such an interesting paper, not at all like
most campus newspapers.
think the DI draws really good students as staff. Students who have been
seriously involved with the DI here have a leg up when it comes to going
out to find professional jobs. It has a long tradition of being a really
good student newspaper.
I have a regular meeting once a month with a DI reporter. When they call
and want to talk with me, I do make a special effort to respond to them,
because the DI is part of their education. I do try to help all reporters,
of course, if its possible, but I see the DI as an opportunity to
Another remarkable thing about the DI is that the University subsidizes
only the circulation to our students. This is good, because it is an independent
newspaper, and that claim is much more valid because the paper earns its
this issue, were also talking to nurses who have found unconventional
positions with their nursing degrees.There is a tremendous shortage of
hospital nurses. Nursing is really a good career opportunity in the traditional
sense, too. Even if someone wanted to do something different later, he
or she could be a traditional nurse for a few years for background and
then branch out. Salaries are quite good, and its a field for people
who want flexibility. Its not just an 8-to-5 job. There are ways
to arrange a work schedule that might be very attractive to some people.
think its a career that young people should consider seriously.
With the background, nurses can go in a lot of different directions, such
as case management for insurance companies, nurse anesthesia, and geriatric
nursing, which is just huge. I would hope that both men and women see
this as a positive career choice.