Tucked away in the lower levels of Alumni Court South and Loschert Hall are little clusters of offices devoted to Residential Life and the Office of Substance Abuse Prevention and Students Support (OSAPSS) program at Rose Hill. This year, OSAPSS has been taken in under the umbrella of Residential Life.
According to Kimberly Russell, assistant dean of students and director of Residential Life, Kimberly Russell, this change will not decrease the effectiveness and prominence of our substance abuse program.
Rather, the name OSAPSS will fall out of use and the title Residential Life will encompass the campus’s resources associated with substance abuse. Meaning, none of the resources provided by the past OSAPSS will be lost. One-hundred percent of the substance abuse resources will be maintained and offered through the Office of Residential Life.
Russell made this fact very clear. When asked if this assimilation of OSAPSS into Residential Life was a positive change for the substance abuse program, Russell was quick to respond that the change was completely for the better.
“I think it’s great,” Russell said. “One of the things that’s really important to us is that we support the students.”
Due to these changes, the substance abuse program will be more connected to different student services, such as resident directors and resident assistants, and more connected to other clubs and organizations.
This will provide a greater information stream for both staff and students.
Hired in September, Jessica Ballou is assuming the position as the new director of the substance abuse program.
Ballou has a doctorate in psychology and has worked in substance abuse prevention programs in both San Francisco and at Virginia Tech.
She said that she is excited about working with the Fordham community, and wants students to know that all are welcome to take advantage of the substance abuse program and services here at Fordham.
“We’re here for education and support,” she said.
Russell also denied that the substance abuse program is funded by room damage billings.
“Nope…solved that rumor…where did that even come from?” she said.
In regards to funding, Russell noted that in the coming years, the OSSAPS budget will likely be increased due to the fact that the substance abuse program now has a much more comprehensive collaboration with Residential Life.
According to the Fordham University website, the Office of Substance Abuse Prevention and Student Support “employs a comprehensive multi-tiered approach to substance abuse prevention that integrates education, environmental management, early intervention and assessment strategies.”
The office consists of the diretor, graduate student interns and undergraduate student interns.