Student Roberto Vaca Wins Statewide Recognition for Alcohol Leadership

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Student Roberto Vaca Wins Statewide Recognition for Alcohol Leadership

California State University, Fresno graduate student Roberto Vaca received the Student Leadership Award at the CSU Alcohol Conference on April 21-22 in San Jose.

The award recognizes the work of a student to promote alcohol education on his or her campus. Veronica Bobe Kollmeyer from Dominguez Hills was a co-recipient of this award. Awards also were presented for Senior Staff Leadership and Campus Leadership. Last year, Fresno State Vice President Dr. Paul Oliaro won the Senior Staff Leadership award.

Vaca was nominated by Sam Gitchel, a health educator with University Health and Psychological Services who directs the campus Social Norms Project, which aims to reduce high risk drinking, alcohol-impaired driving and other forms of alcohol-related harm.

Vaca is a native of Mexico and a graduate of Sanger High School. He is enrolled in Fresno State’s master’s degree program in counseling, and plans to pursue a doctoral degree.

Gitchel said Vaca’s leadership has many facets. He has served as co-chair of the Student Subcommittee of the Alcohol Advisory Council since its inception in August 2003, recruited other students to serve and fostered a vibrant, motivated group that now sets the pace for faculty and staff. His leadership during 2004 National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week contributed to its success, Gitchel said.

“He motivates and encourages members through his example of dedication and commitment,” said Gitchel.

Vaca works as project assistant in the university’s Social Norms Project, as acts as a role model and ambassador-at-large to the campus. He regularly contributes ideas that have shaped the project and also has conducted research on faculty perceptions of student alcohol use, which has been a useful adjunct to our campus social norms project.

He presented this research at the Central California Research Symposium, and plans to extend the study to other California State University campuses as a master’s thesis topic.