ACES Lunch and Learn series helps educate faculty, staff

ACES Lunch and Learn series helps educate faculty, staff

Sanda Vazgec

When faculty and staff at Grand Valley State University are preparing for the school year they are usually writing syllabi, constructing course calendars or planning division goals. This year, identifying and providing resources for students struggling with substance abuse will be part of that agenda.

After a successful pilot trial last year, Alcohol and Other Drugs Campus Education Services (ACES) will continue its Lunch and Learn series this year. The program is geared toward educating and raising awareness about alcohol and drug issues the campus community is facing.

“We’ve really polished things up from our trial run last year,” said Bonnie Dykstra, ACES substance abuse counselor. “After the feedback we received from staff and RAs, we’ve added some topics to fit some of the trends and issues going on recently.”

Dykstra will present at the next lunch Wednesday, Oct. 5. The presentation will focus on Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACOA), a term used to describe adults who have grown up in alcoholic or otherwise dysfunctional homes. The discussion will provide information about identifying traits that reveal past abuse or neglect, family roles and resources for healing.

On Wednesday, Nov. 2, Sgt. Jeff Stoll of the Grand Valley Police Department and Katrina Rast of ACES will discuss substance use, abuse and trends. The presentation will focus on common issues related to alcohol, marijuana, prescription and illicit drug use. Attendees will learn about the most common issues and substances used at GVSU, as well as the legal ramifications of drug use and possession.

How to help a friend with a drinking problem will headline the Nov. 30 discussion, lead by Genevieve Steffes and Katrina Rast of ACES. The presentation will teach attendees how to identify signs and symptoms of drug use and excessive drinking and distinguish resources for help.

The Lunch and Learn events are held in Kirkhof Center Room 0073 beginning at noon and last for approximately 45 minutes. Guests are encouraged to bring and eat their lunch during the presentations.

While the series is geared toward faculty and staff, students are welcome to listen to any of the discussions.

The series will continue throughout the winter semester and while the topics for each event have not been finalized, the lunches will occur on Jan. 11, Feb. 1 and March 1.

“We offer a variety of events and services for our students and the campus community to participate in whether that be for prevention, education or resources for help,” said Eric Kilngensmith, coordinator of crisis intervention and ACES. “Organizations on campus are always welcome to request a program from us, we can work with them to create a presentation or event on demand.”

ACES offers 12-step meetings, counseling, recovery support and informational sessions throughout the year where anyone is welcome to attend.