HC3 Coalition works to mitigate issues between students, locals

 The Geneseo Healthy Campus and Community Coalition has worked to improve relations between the college and local community.

Some of the main goals of HC3 are to make students aware of town laws and reduce illegal partying, drug use and other disruptive acts to the community. The program was started by a grant through Oasis, a substance abuse center in New York state. Twenty different SUNY and CUNY schools have received grants for the program.

HC3 held an event at the Wadsworth Library on Wednesday Dec. 5, where students could turn in their fake ID’s for $20 CAS gift cards.

“We didn’t think we’d get anyone because there’s no bars you can really use fakes at here,” HC3 intern senior Becca Marotta said. “We did have some juniors come in who were like, ‘well we’re not really using it here anyway’ which was kind of surprising.”

Community Prevention Coordinator Shelly Wolanske went on to explain that the retail aspect of illegal drinking isn’t as much of an issue at Geneseo, as the few bars in town are restrictive. The main issue HC3 wants to target is off-campus drinking, which is where 80 percent of the partying occurs.

Marotta explained that due to the bars being restrictive, it often helps things such as Greek Life grow larger because it provides students an outlet to participate in these party activities.

“It helps with the partying because it gives a place where kids can go,” sociology major sophomore Jake Graves said. “But I mean if you get rid of Greek life, you’re not going to get rid of illegal drinking or partying.”

HC3 has also finished initiatives pertaining to these issues such as educating landlords on the effects illegal partying has on them, educating university police on what alcohol fueled interpersonal violence looks like and educating the community on what addiction is and how it is affecting New York State.

“The first initiative is to have a coalition that involves the college and community. The second initiative is to also the change community, also we’re trying to lower access and availability when it comes to alcohol and other drugs,” Wolanske said. “We collected a lot of data, we did focus groups, we did key interviews and just talk to people to find out the different issues like where students were drinking and what the community felt about it and you know, because the community’s point of view is basically litter and you know, rowdy parties.”

HC3 can then use this data to see what the best routes to take in working toward mitigating these issues are. This is how they decide what initiatives to do and what major issues to focus on.

Overall, the main goal of HC3 is for the community and the students to work together to resolve these problems. One issue that HC3 initiatives have mitigated is conflict between off-campus students and local residents. “A lot of the students move off campus and there’s not necessarily a lot of accountability and they don’t necessarily know they have neighbors, so kind of bridging that gap and getting them to communicate and recognize, you know, that they’re both here and that they can work together,” Marotta said.

This initiative resulted in neighbors reporting that students gave them cards introducing themselves, which was seen as a positive reaction.

While students have positive feelings towards HC3, there is discrepancy toward whether or not the residents and students of Geneseo currently have a good relationship.

“I feel like it’s probably not the best relationship. They’re probably pretty annoyed with college kids,” Graves said “It’s important I guess to stop drinking and such, but it’s also a very hard thing to stop because it’s just not going to be able to [happen]. But I think when it comes to the point where it’s like dangerous to the community, like drunk driving and such like that, then I think that could be important.”

“I don’t think there’s too much of a difference between us and the town, if that makes sense,” undecided major sophomore Abrem O’Brien said. “I think we’re all pretty closely intertwined.”