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Government Shutdown Limits Speakers at Penn State Event

The government shutdown continues to affect folks in our region, this time people at Penn State.
PENN STATE, UNIVERSITY PARK - The government shutdown continues to affect folks in our region, this time people at Penn State.

The university hosted a one-day symposium Monday, discussing dangerous drinking on college campuses.

Two of the keynote speakers signed up to attend couldn't because of the shutdown.

The two speakers work for the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Organizers of the event say by not having them there Monday, several key pieces of information were lacking from the panel.

As week two of the government shutdown begins, side effects are starting to sink in.

"It's unfortunate," Assistant Vice President for Police and Public Safety at Penn State, Steve Shelow, said. " I think many of them wanted to come."

Shelow helped organize the dangerous drinking symposium at Penn State, and was disappointed some guests couldn't come.

"I do feel like it's a gap because they're not with us today," he said.

But, the show must go on and despite the shutdown, drinking on Penn State's campus continues to be a problem.

"We have considered it the number one problem because it's involved in so many other offenses, whether it's sexual assault, vandalism, theft," Shelow said. "We see it at the root of nearly everything we encounter."

He says the problem is expanding into State College, too and it's important for the local community to get involved to stop it.

"What there needs to be is a mix of initiatives that are education-based, consequence-based, like enforcement, etc." he said.

It's called "The Partnership:Campus and Community United Against Dangerous Drinking".

"I think we're showing a slight down tick," Vice President of Student Affairs, Damon Sims, said. "I wouldn't call it a trend yet."

Sims is a part of the partnership. He says their work is just beginning.

"Very, very important, is the inclusion of students and finding student leaders who are trying to minimize the problem," he said.

Students like senior Julie Nyce.

"I think it's just the culture of college in general, but Penn State definitely fits the stereotype," she said.

Nyce hopes the new initiative will stop dangerous drinking in the future.

"I think most people technically know the dangers, they just need to be reminded every now and again," she said. "It's something that's easily forgotten, especially in college."

The partnership has also worked to end State Patty's Day in State College. The group is already meeting to discuss ways to stop this year's festivities.


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