Through the formation of broad-based campus-community coalitions and collaborations, participants in such efforts can create long-lasting changes in the environment that support healthy lifestyle choices and promote safe and supportive learning environments.
Sustaining momentum for change and widespread support for new programs and policies requires collaboration and communication and the development of a structure where everyone knows what their role is, with regular communication about what is taking place. In addition, successful coalitions have members who feel that changes can occur in the community to improve the health and safety of all community members—not just students. Successful programs to develop and maintain safe and supportive learning environments address all of these factors in a comprehensive approach. For campuses and surrounding communities, it is especially important to complement existing efforts by addressing the physical, social, economic, and legal environment which influence campus climate and contribute to safe and supportive learning environments, which can be accomplished through a mix of institutional, community, and public policy change.
Sustaining momentum of coalition work rests on the ability of both the campus and the community to take a long-term view of the process of changing the campus climate and commitment by both to a collaborative process. Changing the campus culture to provide an environment that promotes student success is a long-term, community-wide process. Coalitions should not expect results right away and be prepared for resistance and opposition to efforts to change the status quo. The following are key elements of sustainability:
Strong programs identify key stakeholders on- and off-campus who can share the same vision and work collaboratively to develop, implement, evaluate, and sustain efforts through identifying how each can be helpful in mobilizing long-term support and resources. The stronger these relationships, the more likely key stakeholders will contribute to sustaining momentum.
That includes three spheres of action in which sustain momentum for environmental change to promote safe and supportive learning environments: the campus task force, the campus and community coalition, and associations of higher education officials, especially college presidents. Prevention research strongly supports the use of comprehensive, integrated programs with multiple complementary components that target: (1) individuals, including at-risk or alcohol-dependent drinkers, (2) the student population as a whole, and (3) the college and the surrounding community. Successful interventions occur at these three distinct levels. The conceptual framework of a comprehensive approach is designed to help college officials understand the wisdom of broadening their approach beyond traditional prevention programs to include a range of strategies for changing the campus and community environment.
Branching out and collaboration with a wide group of people who are invested and intimately involved in the running and success of the program makes it more likely remain viable and sustainable. Because there are no "quick fixes" when it comes to developing and maintaining safe and supportive learning environments, it is necessary for the campus and community to take a long view.