One of the members of a task force put together after riots at Ohio State University shared her experiences at a summit on the issue in Ames. Cynthia Buettner says one of their strategies has been to get some of the students who instigated the rowdiness to become leaders in finding a solution.
She says they wanted to try and take the students who would not normally be part of the leadership group that were average or below average students to get their ideas. Buettner says they want to make student think about their actions. She says instead of coming up with things to do to them, it gets them involved in trying to create solutions for everybody.
Buettner says they’ve gone as far as putting the program in the curriculum. She says they ask how to reward students and decided instead of paying them, they could get academic credit and work on a proposal. She says they had four proposals that made it through the process.
She says one of the ideas was a “social norms” campaign on teaching students how to party smart. She says they’re setting up an evaluation process to see if the proposal worked by reducing the number of out-of-control parties. Buettner says all the ideas were really pretty good.
She says one of the other ideas would have a group of “student party mediators” that would be on the street to keep an eye on the parties. The mediators could talk with the party hosts before they got out of hand and the police had to be called in. Buettner says the approach seems to be working thus far.
She says, “Nobody wants bad things to happen, they may want stupid things to happen, ’cause that’s part of partying to a certain extent. Even students don’t want unsafe things to happen.” Buettner says it’s too early to declare the program a success, but she feels there’s some good ideas with potential to make a difference.