November 20, 2019 || Vol. 92, No. 10 - page 3

November 20, 2019
University News
The Outlook 3
vaping and e-cigarettes, to stig-
ma, prevention, personal experi-
ences, gambling, and how sub-
stance abuse affects the family,
and addiction and sexual assault
on college campuses.
“Speakers successfully exam-
ined the various aspects of ad-
diction, including how it affects
individuals, families, and com-
munities and also offered some
viable solutions for addressing
the problem going forward,”
Wood continued.
Kaitlin McCarthy from Pre-
vention First, closed the event
with a call to action that detailed
the main ideas of fellow speak-
ers in order to strategize ways to
combat the crisis. The group was
able to come up with 13 sugges-
tions to improve the crisis.
The primary suggestion was
that society needs to start edu-
cating people on existing laws
and policies established to help
people. On a micro-level, the
group suggested that on-campus
Monmouth’s Social Work
Society hosted their 14th an-
nual Teach- In to educate the
surrounding community on the
opioid crisis, on Tuesday, Nov.
12.
The event began with open-
ing remarks from the Social
Work Society and Robin Mama,
Ph.D., Dean of the School of So-
cial Work.
Afterwords, there was a
keynote from former Senator
Raymond Lesniak. He said, “I
remember getting a tooth ex-
tracted and getting a 30-day
supply of Percocet. Actually,
what I needed was a week sup-
ply of Tylenol.”
He explained the complica-
tions he faced, while in office,
trying to get addictions listed as
disabilities in New Jersey. “Un-
fortunately, it is such a difficult
thing to achieve because there is
only X amount of dollars avail-
able for people with disabilities.
If you add another disability,
then all the other folks with dis-
abilities will be short changed.
So, you would need the increase
the [spending] to make room for
this.”
William Wood, an Adjunct
Professor of Social Work, ex-
plained that the speakers and
workshop presenters were in-
formative and that, given the
ongoing issues with opioids and
other addictions, the focus of the
event was “timely and relevant.”
After the keynote, there were
15 different breakout sessions
that students and profession-
als were invited to attend. The
sessions included
Eradicat-
ing Stigmas on Addiction and
Students Encouraged to Share Personal Visions for University
people of MU and deter-
mine how the strategic plan
should be shaped to best ca-
ter to the requests of the com-
munity. Amanda Klaus, Ex-
ecutive Director for Alumni
Engagement and Annual
Giving and a member of the
Strategic Planning Steering
Committee, explained the
format of the event. “The
categories are broad enough
that they allow everybody
who wants a chance to par-
ticipate to really help the
University move in a more
strategic direction,” she said.
“They provide a really great
opportunity for folks to share
ideas both big and small.”
“What we as a committee
will do is look at what peo-
ple want; what direction the
University wants to go in,”
said Chris Hirschler, Ph.D.,
MCHES, Chair of Health
and Physical Education De-
partment and member of the
Strategic Planning Steering
Committee.
“As an example, some
faculty have said to me,
‘Oh, you’re representing the
School of Nursing and Health
Studies,’ because that’s
where I reside,” Hirschler
added. “But I said ‘no,’ be-
cause on the Committee I
represent the students, fac-
ulty, and staff of the Uni-
versity. What I want to see is
what the masses want added,
changed, or taken away.”
Many people took advan-
tage of this opportunity to
voice their opinions about
what could make MU a better
place, with responses cover-
ing a range of topics. Among
staff and faculty, benefits
like on-campus daycare and
more opportunities for en-
try- and mid-level employees
to be promoted were common
suggestions on the boards.
Among students, however, hot
topics included better park-
ing, abolishing fixed course
framework for graduate stu-
dents, a commuter lounge,
and a tuition price cap.
PHOTO TAKEN by Alex Dyer
Sticky notes placed
by students included topics such as extending dining hall hours
Some students have first-
hand experience which
spurred them to contribute
to the conversation. David
Grossi, a senior biology
student and former resident
advisor, used his experi-
ence to suggest renovations
to the housing system at
Monmouth. “It was inter-
esting to be able to work in
buildings both on- and off-
campus,” Grossi said. “The
buildings are very versatile
and can be multipurpose.
So, trying to get better-qual-
ity housing for students with
the money the University
has made would be a good
idea.”
Multiple suggestions made
by faculty, staff, and stu-
dents concerned the welfare
and comfort of international
students. As Hafsa Ijaz, a
junior accounting student,
explained, “I’m originally
from Pakistan, but I am a
permanent resident of the
United States. But for stu-
dents here as non-residents,
tuition can be very high.”
Additionally, many sugges-
tions were made by the com-
munity regarding services
for students and employees
of color.
Mary Anne Nagy, Vice
President for Student Life
and Leadership Engage-
ment, explained that the end
goal of the event is to es-
sentially crowd source ideas
to inspire the forthcoming
strategic plan. “The plan-a-
thon has been a really great
gathering event,” Nagy said.
“In addition to kicking it off,
the event makes everyone
within the community––
our faculty, our staff, and
our students––feel like they
have a role to play in the fu-
ture of our school.”
Leahy, who is current-
ly in the first semester of
his tenure as President of
Monmouth Univeristy, per-
sonally oversaw the event,
taking into consideration
many of the ideas which
were presented on the boards
throughout the day.
He explained his excite-
ment at spearheading the
strategic plan, “For me, the
big thing is to come in as a
new president––even one
who’s been a president be-
fore––and to not assume
I have all the answers, but
rather that I can be helpful in
leading a process where we
can come up with collective
wisdom of our campus com-
munity; to make a plan that
I can get excited about that I
can dedicate my life to lead-
ing in the coming years.”
Regarding the creative
process behind the strategic
plan, Leahy said, “I want
someone to try to imag-
ine if we had not created
Monmouth University and
it wasn’t 86 years old: what
would we create on this
space if we could? That’s a
pretty fundamental ques-
tion.”
PLAN
cont. from pg. 1
MEGAN RUGGLES
CO-NEWS EDITOR
Sexual Assault on College
Campuses, The knowns and
Unknowns of the Vaping Crisis,
Unpacking the CVS Catch My
Breath E-cigarette Curriculum,
Medication, Mommy and Me,
Gambling and Video Gaming
– A Public Health Issue, How
function influences patient out-
comes, a guide for the clinician
and user, Breaking the Peer
Pressure Stigma, Addiction, the
Neurobiology of Attachment/
Trauma and Healing through
the Relational Lens, Stigma
within Medication Assisted
Treatment, YMCA Matawan
Prevention and Intervention
Services, My Personal Journey:
Experience, Strength, & Hope,
Utilizing Multi-Family Therapy
in Substance Abuse Treatment,
Living in Recovery from Addic-
tion, The New Look of Nicotine
Addiction: Vaping,
and
What
works in Prevention.
The presenters’ topics ranged
from the issues surrounding
Narcan training, universal drug
screening during pregnancy,
and changing insurance poli-
cies services should be offered.
Wood explained that the
event provided students pur-
suing social work with insight
into what social workers truly
do and learn how the profes-
sion solves social issues. “The
program was well balanced, as
it explored prevention, the clin-
ical processes involved in treat-
ment and ongoing sobriety, and
relevant structural issues,” he
said.
Kailey Monteiro, a junior
social work student, added,
“The Teach-In was an excellent
learning experience for gain-
ing a deeper understanding of
the ways in which drugs have
greatly impacted so many peo-
ple’s lives.”
Monteiro continued, “I be-
lieve that it is important for so-
cial workers to be knowledge-
able on this topic as they may
Social Work Teach-In Educates on Opioid Crisis and Addiction Treatment
be consistently working with
victims of trauma and/or abuse
and that those victims are some-
times likely to turn to drugs as
a way of seeking relief. It will
help social workers to gain a
deeper understanding of what
their clients are going through
and they can use this knowl-
edge to help steer their clients
toward resources and, hopeful-
ly, away from the drugs.”
Wood added, “The confer-
ence was excellent. Conven-
ing conferences requires a lot
of time, coordination, and at-
tention to detail, and I was
impressed with how well the
event’s organizers were able to
effectively manage those tasks
and produce a high-quality ed-
ucational program that moved
along seamlessly.”
Social Work Society Club
Advisors Cory Cummings,
Ph.D., LCSW, an Assistant Pro-
fessor of Social Work, and San-
jana Ragudaran, Ph.D., MSW,
a Specialist Professor of Social
Work, agreed that the event was
effective in providing a space
for information sharing and
fostering dialogue on the opioid
crisis.
“It is never easy to organize
an event on this scale. How-
ever, our community partner
Prevention First and the Social
Work Society board members
are highly engaged, and this
made the entire process seam-
less. Senator Lesniak delivered
a dynamic keynote address and
we were able to provide 15 dif-
ferent relevant and engaging
breakout sessions on this im-
portant topic - a true testament
to good collaboration,” Cum-
mings and Ragudaran said in a
joint statement.
PHOTO COURTESY of Monmouth Unversity
Robin Mama, Ph.D., and former Senator Raymond Lesniak
informed students of policy initia-
tives regarding the severity of the opioid crisis.
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