Project Overview

In September 2012, the Centre for Addictions Research of BC (CARBC) in partnership with the Canadian Mental Health Association-BC Division (CMHA-BC) with funding provided by the Ministry of Health, launched the Changing the Culture of Substance Use (CCSU) Project within the BC Healthy Minds | Healthy Campuses (HM | HC) Community of Practice (CoP).

The ultimate goal of the project is for post-secondary students in British Columbia to experience and exhibit healthy relationships with alcohol and other substances within the context of a healthy campus culture. To help achieve this goal, the project aims to build local capacity among stakeholders at British Columbia’s post-secondary institutions and collaboratively develop new mechanisms of change to promote healthier relationships with alcohol and other substance use on campuses.  

View the Tools and Resources section to download the CCSU Snapshot Report, the Logic of Change Model or an example of Capacity Building and Knowledge Exchange and Sharing in the project to learn more.

Background

Changing the Culture of Substance Use is a project under Healthy Minds | Healthy Campuses that was made to develop capacity in BC’s campuses and a provincial support infrastructure towards changing the culture of substance use.  The lead partners of the project are the Canadian Mental Health Association BC Division (CMHA BC) and the Centre for Addictions Research of BC (CARBC).  

The project is based on a socio-ecological model that encourages a multi-component approach with attention to individual behaviours, social cultures and environmental conditions.  In Phase I and Phase II of the project, eleven post-secondary institutions were actively involved.  Through consultations, knowledge exchange between campuses, and co-creation of evidence-based resources, the project is designed to facilitate action by campus change agents and a provincial infrastructure of support.  We are excited to be continuing the project in Phase III with additional funds provided by the Ministry of Health.  Collectively, changes on campuses across the province will contribute to the goals of the Ten Year Plan to Address Mental Health and Substance Use in British Columbia.  

This collaborative initiative is guided by several working assumptions, including:

  • Bio-psycho-socio-cultural understandings of substance use that recognize a complex range of relational contributors to use and outcomes
  • A socio-ecological model of health promotion that will develop capacity at both individual and collective levels to enhance settings as well as support people within those environments
  • Participatory processes that encourage interdisciplinary engagement to contribute to deliberation on challenges and to determination and implementation of appropriate solutions
  • Social-learning theories whereupon members of the community of practice engage with one another to enhance knowledge exchange
  • Recognition that different settings require different solutions involving appropriate selection and adaptations of sound, evidence-informed practices to address local factors influencing wellness
  • Consolidation of mechanisms that ensure sustained development and impact beyond the life of the project, encouraging integrative rather than additive actions

Alcohol and other substance use present an important challenge for many BC post-secondary institutions in their aim to promote health and well-being among members of the campus community.  Evidence shows us that changing the culture of substance use is a complex but worthwhile undertaking that supports–and often involves–efforts around a broad array of goals such as policy development, individual intervention and community health promotion. 

Campuses involved in this project benefit from an enhanced ability to deal not only with substance use concerns, but also an expansive range of issues that are often associated with substance use and students’ mental and physical health in general.

Get Involved

Currently there are 11 campuses across B.C. who are involved in the project, which can be viewed on the map below.  Learn more about how the project involves campuses in images from the CCSU Infographic.

ccsu campuses map

Why Campuses Participate

Involvement in a Focused Learning Community

Participating campus community members experience a range of interactive and engaging activities designed to support learning around the identified focus for this project – substance use. Nested within the broader Healthy Minds | Healthy Campuses Community of Practice, this focused learning community constructed a learning agenda that has helped drive collaborative thinking and work related to campus substance use. The activities of this group align with the local realities of each participating campus, helping to ensure that the identified challenges and opportunities for change map closely on to the contexts of the campuses involved. Campus community members participate in face-to-face and virtual activities, learning from each other, while moving forward together in designing strategies and implementing the best thinking related to substance use.

Access to Consultation and Facilitation

This project is resourced by a team of six from CMHA and CARBC. Each member of this team brings knowledge and experience in the areas of substance use, mental health, health promotion, and learning. This team has played an integral role in moving the project forward, providing content and resources, while helping to facilitate capacity development amongst participating campuses. There are opportunities for tailored consultation and facilitation processes at the individual campus level and also opportunities for campuses to experience consultation and facilitated processes with each other.

Co-Development of Approaches and Resources

A key area of this project is the development of approaches and resources that campuses can draw from in the area of substance use. Based on specific activity areas, the project team helps to co-develop approaches and resources with campuses, making them available for the learning community to pilot and use. These products are shared in a curated and online resource area that is also made available to the broader Healthy Minds | Healthy Campuses Community of Practice. We are working to co-develop resources that are responsive to the unique campus contexts involved in their development, while simultaneously being useful to other campus communities throughout British Columbia. For example, a campus might co-develop healthy policy in the area of availability and pricing of alcohol on campus. A product that might emerge from this process could include the policy itself, as well as a description of how to engage relevant stakeholders in a process that researches and produces effective policy in this area.

 

Tools and Resources

A Framework for Thought and Action: Substance Use Policy on Campus

This guide is the first in a series of discussion papers that offers and applies a potential framework for guiding thought and action on substance use policy. Readers are encouraged to carefully consider and discuss the broad theoretical perspective of the frame, and then reflect with colleagues on how that frame might be applied to policies within their own campus community context.

Download Tool
Changing the Culture of Substance Use Project

Most Significant Change Stories for Dinner Basket Conversation Facilitators

Dinner Basket Conversations have been hosted on Selkirk College campuses for the past six years in an effort to gather information from students about substance use patterns and mental health challenges. These conversations have been observed to have a therapeutic effect on both the participants and the facilitators, and demonstrate the potential to shift values, cultural understandings and viewpoints. The Changing the Culture of Substance Use (CCSU) Community of Practice was interested in knowing whether the Dinner Basket Conversations were instrumental in changing culture.

As such, the Most Significant Change Story evaluative technique was adapted to a research instrument so the results could be published. After a number of stories were collected, they were reviewed by two committees: one comprised of students and another comprised of administrative staff at Selkirk College. See which story was Most Significant and why…

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Changing the Culture of Substance Use Project

Most Significant Change Stories at Selkirk College

This guide includes seven examples of first-person accounts of culture shifts at Selkirk College, as part of the Dinner Basket Conversations initiative. Participants were invited to tell their stories of change until the “Most Significant Change Story” emerged to signify the value or efficacy of the initiative. The process is meant to be ongoing as new stories emerge.

Learn more about the Most Significant Change Stories here.

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Changing the Culture of Substance Use Project

Promising Practice: Do2GetThru

Do2GetThru is a project at Camosun College in Victoria, BC, that explores the culture of substance use on campus. Since Camosun College is a commuter campus, the landscape around substance use is different from that of many other post-secondary institutions with on-campus student residences. To understand this difference, the Camosun College community asked student educators to use drama and theatre techniques to raise awareness about mental health and identify key issues that might help facilitate a shift in substance use culture.

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Changing the Culture of Substance Use Project

Clearing the Air: Lower-Risk Cannabis Use on Campus

This is one in a series of resources meant to guide the development of specific tools to promote elements of a comprehensive approach to psychoactive substance use within a post-secondary institution’s community. This resource aims to dispel some of the haze.  It considers the prevalence, motivations for and effects of use, offers some suggestions on content for communication to encourage lower-risk practice among those who choose to use cannabis, and alludes to means through which that messaging can be shared on campus.

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Changing the Culture of Substance Use Project

Balancing our Thinking around Drinking: Low-Risk Alcohol Use on Campus

This is one in a series of resources meant to guide the development of specific tools to promote elements of a comprehensive approach to psychoactive substance use within a post-secondary institution’s community. This guide emphasizes points to consider when promoting low-risk drinking guidelines, suggests messaging related to low-risk drinking guidelines and provides tools and samples to support implementation.

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Changing the Culture of Substance Use Project

A Guide to Promoting Healthier Residence Environments

This guide is one in a series of resources intended to serve a comprehensive approach to promoting healthier relationships with alcohol and other substances in post-secondary settings. Grounded in evidence and theory, it features ideas and suggestions for supporting the creation of a healthier residence community.

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Changing the Culture of Substance Use Project

Promising Practice: TRU's Drink with Class Initiative

At Thompson Rivers University (TRU), Drink with Class has become a central philosophy in residence. This promising practice highlights culture change at TRU and describes the multi-layered components the initiative uses to promote healthier relationships with alcohol in campus residence.

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Changing the Culture of Substance Use Project

Dinner and Dialogue: Engaging Community in Conversations about Drinking Culture

This is a guide on how one might host a dinner and dialogue on the culture of alcohol with members of the community. This guide outlines the reasons one might host a dinner and dialogue, as well as a potential planning and facilitation approach to a dinner and dialogue.

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Changing the Culture of Substance Use Project

Promising Practice: Selkirk’s Hosting a Dinner Basket Conversation on Substance Use

Selkirk College has been hosting innovative dinner basket conversations related to substance use. Check out this promising practice to access their recipe for a dinner basket conversation, guiding questions for facilitators, a reflection sheet for participants, cooking recipes to get you started, and more!

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Changing the Culture of Substance Use Project

Dinner Basket Conversations video

See how Dinner Basket Conversations are hosted at Selkirk College, and get the ingredients to foster a healthy student culture on your campus.

 

 

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Changing the Culture of Substance Use Project

CCSU Snapshot Report

The CCSU Snapshot Report: Phase II Project Update was created to help community members convey to campus stakeholders a sense of the CCSU work and what campuses involved in the project hope to accomplish.  It is our hope that this report will create opportunities for fruitful dialogue and increased awareness of the importance of this type of work to the health and wellness of campus members. 

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Changing the Culture of Substance Use Project

CCSU Logic of Change Model

View a conceptual model of the logic of change in the Changing the Culture of Substance Use Project (CCSU).  The model outlines project processes, activities by change agents, intermediate outcomes and systems outcomes and goals.  See the link between the CCSU Project and the BC Healthy Minds, Healthy People 10-Year-Plan.

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Changing the Culture of Substance Use Project

Capacity Building and Knowledge Exchange Flowchart

View an example of Capacity Building and Knowledge Exchange in the Changing the Culture of Substance Use Project.  In the flowchart, you can see cross-campus sharing among the 11 campuses involved in the project, with an example of some of the stakeholders from a Residence Services group who are reached through the project.

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Changing the Culture of Substance Use Project

CCSU Infographic

Based on survey responses that participating campuses in the CCSU Project completed, we developed an infographic to distribute the findings and share a bit more about the project.  Learn more about the stakeholders who have been reached through the project, what the main action areas have been so far and key messages shared by members from Phase I and Phase II campuses. 

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Changing the Culture of Substance Use Project

Videos

Do2GetThru

Under our Influence: Shifting a Culture

Summit 2014: Exploring the Culture of Substance Use on Rural Campuses through Community Building

Dinner Basket Conversations at Selkirk College

Summit 2014 Action Area: Community Connectedness, Belonging and Inclusion

Presentations

Overview of the CCSU Project

Part One: Changing the Culture of Substance Use on Campus

Part Two: Changing the Culture of Substance Use on Campus

Balancing Our Thinking Around Drinking: Low-Risk Alcohol Use on Campus

Putting the Pieces Together: Low-Risk Cannabis Use on Campus

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Pre-Summit Session: Changing the Culture of Substance Use Phase 1 and Phase 2 Campuses

Testimonials