SCOPE Thought Piece, Question #6: How do we improve our ability to create and reinforce consistent messaging across campuses and schools?

Michelle N. Issadore, M.Ed.

The single most important skill I developed as a prevention practitioner was the ability to get others on my campus excited about what I was doing. Whether that meant appealing to their conscience, making them laugh or building their awareness and empathy, it gave me a strong foundation from which to draw support and address multiple populations. I spoke anywhere and everywhere that would have me. I asked to speak in venues that otherwise would not have had me. I enlisted students and personal stories. By being ubiquitous, my message was impossible to ignore after a while.

It also took a fair amount of attending other offices’ events and programs to develop the collegiality and goodwill required for my work to have its intended effect. But after a few years, I found myself hurdling previous challenges and being able to infuse my messaging across the academic year. The fraternity and sorority office did not see me as someone who was disparaging of the Greek community; the alcohol specialist did not see me blaming alcohol alone for the myriad of health and safety issues we faced; the police recognized that I understood the role they played and, in turn, appreciated my role.

I wish I could offer something that took less time or effort, but for me, the interpersonal skills required for the job were the best way to create lasting change.

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