Elected Secretary-Treasurer of AACUPI (Association of American College and University Programs in Italy) in 2001, and as Director of Harding University since 1990, I have been aware of issues that our programs deal with continuously: for example, immigration, or personnel, both academic and administrative.
One very important project with the Comune di Firenze and the Consulate that I participated in, as liaison for the University programs in Florence, dealt with alcohol awareness. Unfortunately, students, ambassadors for our country, were creating problems due to over-drinking. I realize that the press always highlights the negative and that all of our programs are involved in service projects and cultural exchange projects, but that was not what was being written about in the papers. Work began meeting with the Florence police forces and the night club association presidents and representatives.
In 2005, the document was finalized and then signed by the Presidents of SILB and FIBE (Associations of nights clubs and drinking joints), Dr. Aldo Cursano and Dr. Carlo Caldini, and AACUPI President Portia Prebys and myself, Robert Shackelford. Unfortunately, not all the clubs and drinking joints are a part of this association and the problem continues to be a major issue. The AACUPI Alcohol Awareness Work Group continued to work and from 2005 to the present I have attended and participated in meeting after meeting with the US Consulate, with the different branches of the Comune di Firenze, and with other associations that have similar goals, but unfortunately, the projects created and challenges presented have had little effect on the overall drinking issues.