Middle Earth Students Win
National Awards in Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention
Contact: Lisa James Goldsberry (518) 437-4980
ALBANY, N.Y. (December 15, 2004) -- The University
at Albany's Middle Earth peer counseling students
received national honors for their work in alcohol
and drug prevention at the BACCHUS and GAMMA
Peer Education Network National Conference held
November 11-14 in Chicago. UAlbany won a total
of four awards, more than any of the 88 competing
colleges and universities. In addition, two
UAlbany students were elected to national office.
The focus of the BACCHUS and GAMMA network
is alcohol and other drug abuse prevention at
the college and university level.
Vice President for Student Affairs James P.
Doellefeld said, "Middle Earth's wonderful
work is again recognized for excellence at the
national level. Middle Earth is a vibrant student
organization that deals with important peer
issues of drug and alcohol prevention."
UAlbany students were awarded the following
- Award for Excellence in Peer Education
for a College or University of 12,000 or more
students ($300 prize)
- Outstanding Program - for Dance-athon 2004
- Outstanding School Exhibit - First Prize
- Outstanding Student - Christine Fan, a
December 2004 UAlbany graduate
In addition, Mahaliel "J.R." Bethea
and Aliya Makki each were elected to serve as
officers of the national organization. Bethea
(also president of UAlbany's Student Association)
was elected as a student trustee and has thus
won one of two student Board of Trustee seats
in the BACCHUS and GAMMA national organization.
Makki was elected regional representative for
the states of New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania,
as well as Canada.
M. Dolores Cimini, director of the Middle
Earth Peer Assistance Program, said, "I
am honored to have the privilege of working
with the talented and dedicated students of
the program. They are truly exceptional in their
efforts to help and support their peers, and
to communicate prevention messages both at UAlbany
Middle Earth will donate all of their monetary
prizes to the Kimberly E. Esterman Memorial
Scholarship Fund. Funding for the students'
trip to the Chicago conference was provided
by the Dominion Foundation.
The Middle Earth Peer Assistance Program recently
received a $10,000 gift from the Dominion Foundation
to disseminate prevention initiatives materials
to colleges and universities throughout the
In addition, the National Institute on Alcohol
Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) recently awarded
the University at Albany $850,000 to research
interventions that prevent or reduce alcohol-related
problems among college students. Cimini and
Matthew P. Martens, assistant professor of educational
and Counseling Psychology in the School of Education,
will study "The Effects of Peer-Facilitated