The New Paltz campus community, local tavern owners and town officials came together on Tuesday, March 25, to celebrate a 15-year partnership of the Tavern Owners Agreement, encouraging responsible and lawful consumption of alcohol and appropriate civic customer behavior.
“These partnerships are integral to enhancing safety and civility in our community,” said SUNY New Paltz President Donald P. Christian. “Today’s event is a re-commitment to these efforts, and the launch of a new collaboration with the college that incorporates the tavern owners into an innovative campus-based alcohol prevention program.”
According to Robin Cohen-La Valle, associate dean of students, taverns will post “Think Before That Last Drink” posters and “Respectful Community” signs, reminding patrons to be considerate and respectful of neighbors, in their establishments.
“Our current OneLess campaign on campus encourages students to make good low-risk choices and offers practical strategies to promote risk reduction and decrease high-risk drinking,” she said. “ This campaign is being endorsed by the tavern owners through a parallel “Think Before That Last Drink” poster that was adapted just for the taverns and being distributed today.”
SUNY New Paltz student Stephen Lawrence ’14 said the campaign is sending a positive message to students. “The program teaches college students the health, academic, and social benefits of having one less drink,” he said. “I feel the program gives students a new prospective of alcohol awareness. I have seen that students really take these messages to heart and keep what is discussed in mind if and when they engage in alcohol use.”
In addition, students who display disruptive or illegal behavior in town will receive a letter from the college indicating its awareness of such behavior and a reminder that such incidents may be subject to the campus judicial process.
New Paltz Tavern Owner’s Association President Michael Beck, who owns P&G’s restaurant, said, “Over these last 15 years we have gained perspective on our responsibility for the safety and well being of our customers while in our establishments and after they leave. Also, we have learned a deeper sense of responsibility for our community and its residents.”
Town Supervisor Susan Zimet agreed. “This is a really important initiative,” she said. “To be here 15 years later to re-sign is a real honor. I can’t thank everybody enough for participating in this.”