Mallory Jordan, Senior Director of Health, Safety, & Well-Being Initiatives for NASPA—Student Affairs Professionals in Higher Education, is this month's guest on Prevention Profiles: Take Five. During the interview, Mallory discusses ways in which student affairs administrators can provide leadership in preventing drug use and misuse among college students, the impact of states’ legalizing nonmedical marijuana use on the nation’s colleges and universities, benefits and challenges of statewide initiatives to prevent drug use among college students, and more!
Rich Lucey: Hi everyone, and thank you for joining this episode of "Prevention Profiles: Take Five." I'm Rich Lucey, senior Prevention Program Manager in the Drug Enforcement Administration's Community Outreach and Prevention Support section, and excited to announce that the guest for today's episode is Mallory Jordan from NASPA.
So let me tell you a little bit about Mallory, and then bring her in and we'll get started with the interview. So Mallory Jordan serves as the Senior Director for Health, Safety and Well-Being initiatives at NASPA. She has been working toward creating healthy communities for institutions of higher education for almost 15 years, most recently through NASPA as project director for two statewide coalitions, a core team member and coordinating NASPA's strategies conferences, and a representative for the inter-association commitment to health and well-being in higher education. Jordan received her Bachelor's Degree in Health Education from the University of Arizona, a Master's Degree in Public Health from the Colorado School of Public Health, and a Master's Degree in Business Administration from Colorado State University. And if that did not keep her busy enough, I know that she's a mom to two little humans, Elle and Mila. And then two fur babies; we can't ignore the fur babies. And so, Mallory, welcome to the podcast. Glad to have you here.
Mallory Jordan: Thanks, Rich. I'm happy to join you this morning.
Rich Lucey: And really happy you found time to fit us into your schedule. And I know how that is, totally. Because, truth be told, for our listeners, the week that we are recording this, NASPA is getting ready for the big General Assembly later this week in Pittsburgh. And I know, Mallory, you're involved with that a lot. But excited to have Mallory on the podcast today. We have a history, we go back a ways in the prevention field. And of course, NASPA and DEA share a great collaborative relationship. And we'll talk a little bit more about that when we talk about the Strategies Conference. But, Mal, jump right in for the first question. As someone who works for a National Association of Student Affairs Professionals in higher education, what do you consistently see as a way that upper level administrators, especially in student affairs, can provide leadership? How can they provide leadership in preventing drug use and misuse among college students?
Mallory Jordan: That's honestly, Richard, a great question. And from my point of view and perspective, I think our upper administration, leaders, administrators are already huge advocates, I will say, with the blanket statement of student health. They are likely in their position because they care about our students, they care about their well-being. They care about how they are doing at their institutions of higher ed, and them as a whole being. So I just want to own that, the folks of upper administration are usually a huge advocate of our students, and their health. I do also want to recognize that with alcohol, substance abuse and youth, misuse and youth, we've seen a lot of great successes over the many years now. And so again, that's a lot of sometimes from champions, my upper administration. And we would love to continue that success.
However, I would say one of the things that we can continue to lean on our upper administrators, is the emphasis around building literacy of their colleagues, of their staff, of the entire institution around what does it mean to have evidence-based programs? What are the expected outcomes? You know, I talk to people in our field a lot. Our folks know our things. They know what evidence-based is, they know where to find resources, you know, campusdrugprevention.gov is a great resource. The college aim is a great resource. Our people know what that means and what that looks like. When you think about a campus as a whole, not everybody understands what does that actually mean? So building the literacy of our campus as a whole, it's going to help move our students in the continuum of care, through their stages of change, however and whatever you want to think about, again, drug use and misuse around college students. So building that literacy of campuses is kind of how I think our upper administrators could really lead us in that area. I will also say that, again, we have a ton of resources around alcohol use and misuse, evidence-based. But we still have a lot of work to do, I think, around our other drug and our other substances in which that could, it comes with the research aspect of it.
So we got to try some things, but the evidence-based research around our other drug use still needs a lot of support and emphasis. So again, our upper administrators, whatever they could be doing to help us move that along, I think will be greatly appreciated as well.
Rich Lucey: So, yeah, I agree with you wholeheartedly. From the perspective of somebody who doesn't work directly on a campus, but obviously, built my entire career in the prevention space with a bit of a focus on the college population. And so I look at it from the outside in sometimes. And there were a couple of things that you said that really resonated, and I wanted to just get your perspective on that. So one is this notion of building literacy. And of course, I'm going to anchor this back into the SPF, and I know that our friend and colleague, David Arnold would be very happy. If David were sitting in your chair, he'd be championing the SPF. So do you see a connection between building the literacy around evidence-based-programs? I think I immediately go to a connection with building capacity. And that's of the SPF because it's that notion of, you know, where are our gaps, then? Where do we need to build our capacity in order to best serve our institution? So what are your thoughts on that?
Mallory Jordan: Absolutely, I am a huge champion of building capacities. I mean, I'm teasing into a few of our other questions upcoming, but building capacity is a lot of what I do at NASPA for NASPA, and thinking about, again, the training, the education, the opportunities to learn, to build set capacities to do more effective and efficient work on campuses. And that includes professionals, but also our students. That's easier to say when you think about learning and building skill sets around capacity and that lens, but ultimately, there is also the human capacity, the number of people on a campus to do the things that needs to be done to support their student body, and their campus, and general community.
So it's easy to say, yes, increase capacity. But there's a few intricacies in which that actually shows up. And, you know, as someone who identifies as a lifelong learner, like, I lean on what else can I be learning, putting in my tool belt? How can I use what time I do have available to do what I need to do on campus? I'm not on campus anymore, so I shouldn't say it that way. But if I was on campus, that's the frame I would be, as well as what do I have available to me, what other staff members, so again, if I can build the capacity, and understanding, and a knowledge base of my colleagues in housing, for those who have housing, or student activities, or fraternity, sorority life, or so on and so forth, if I could build their capacity and understanding to do this work, I think again, it just helps the capacity as you're saying, around the SPF and in to ultimately deliver what we need to deliver to help our students.
Rich Lucey: I totally agree. I was also thinking of something else, you prefaced the entire response around upper level administrators, many who are already advocates for student health. And, you know, I think about the issue of, you know, finding and using your voice. And a lot of times the upper level of administrators, just like it is in government, whether it's state government, federal government, you know, I rely on my upper level administrators to, you know, sometimes be the voice of, you know, for me and advocate for what we're doing. But how about the upper level administrators who haven't yet found their voice or their subordinates, if you will, their direct reports who work in Student Affairs maybe are feeling frustrated that the voice isn't loud enough? What are your thoughts or maybe advice for student administrators on how to help them find their voice on this issue?
Mallory Jordan: My mind goes a couple different ways, and those who know me, that is pretty much on-brand for me.
Rich Lucey: That's okay.
Mallory Jordan: I go a lot of different ways in my head. My first thought is, we are all people. Whether an upper administrator, you hold a title, you have a big position, a lot of power, ultimately, we're all people at the end of the day. So even coming on this podcast, I had my own self-doubts about my own voice. Am I qualified for this? Should I be here? But ultimately, like, I am enough, and I have a voice, and Rich, you're just a person, and I'm just a person, and the people who are listening are just people. And ultimately, we're all here to help people at the end of the day. Like, that's why we do what we do. So, leading, I had to sometimes shift my mind frame of like, this is just a person I'm talking to. And let's just have a conversation.
So, that's one way my brain goes. The other way is, my mind also goes to, in the field of higher education, excuse me, we are seeing more and more positions around AVPs, system vice chancellors, provosts around health and well-being that have come up from a couple of different channels. So even in that upper administrative realm, those folks who are at the table, we're having more people who have the language of, again, the work that we're doing, which I think helps. So if you have the benefit of someone like that, at your institution, try getting a conversation with the things that you're needing, where your gaps are. A lot of it, I tried to champion with our work around data. When you have those numbers, that holds a lot of weight and power to bring about change, and what are the issues going on? Also, bring up the NASPA strategies, like there's a lot of things there, of it's not just me, Mallory, who was at your institution as a coordinator doing you know, on the ground work. This is common, this is happening. It's not just the one person, maybe the squeaky wheel trying to get something changed. This is an issue pretty readily everywhere that needs more time and attention.
Rich Lucey: Yeah, and I have to say kudos. I love the fact you brought up about us, when it comes out at the most basic levels, were just people, because let's face it, I mean, I'll be completely honest, cards on the table, I face impostor syndrome all the time for myself. I do it all the time. And somebody might look and say, seriously? With the all the creds that you've got, and the experience and education and such? But yeah, sometimes you do go through that. And trust me, I try to invite people to the podcasts that I know are qualified. So yeah, didn't have to worry about that at all. But I totally understand that notion and the voice comes through loud and clear. I mean, so I think it's when you're confident in your knowledge, and that's why I keep channeling my mentor, Fran Harding, all the time about honing your craft, know your craft. Because when you do and you're confident in your craft, your voice comes through, you know, loud and clear. So, I'm glad that you've mentioned that in both the terms of, you know, the upper-level administrators, as well as, you know, the people that they're supporting, the student affairs professionals themselves.
I'm going to switch gears, go to my second question, which is going to focus in on a specific drug. I'm talking to somebody out of Colorado, so I, you know, have talked about marijuana. But you know what, it's not just Colorado anymore. We, obviously, you know, that was the experiment. I loved how they used that phrase when it was first passed. But I have to preface the question, as I always do when talking about this particular issue and what states have done around the country over the last now decade. You know, under federal law, medical and non-medical use of marijuana is illegal. But we know that since November of 2012, a number of states, admittedly lost count at this point, they've passed legislation that have legalized marijuana for non-medical use. That's what I'm focusing on, the non-medical use. Some use the term recreational. I really try to get away from that term, even though it is a term of art, sometimes it's actually in the legislation itself. So, if you're quoting the legislation, go ahead and quote it. But you know, we're talking about non-medical use for anyone over the age of 21. Meaning it's still illegal, regardless of what state you're in, if you're under 21. So that's a long-winded way of saying, you know, from your perspective, not only in the state you're at, but you have the national perspective that you do. What has been the biggest impact of this legalization movement on the nation's colleges and universities?
Mallory Jordan: Well, Rich, thank you for bringing up a lot of those things, because that's also where my mind goes, is we also stay away from the term recreational. It's very common. So I'm with you on that. We do tend, I lean towards adults, cannabis use. And so a lot of the language I use is adult use. When you have the recreational piece of it, again, continues to reduce the perception of harm. And this is just fun, it's recreational, when there still needs to be a lot of emphasis around responsible use and what that looks like. So anyway, so thank you for bringing up all those pieces. And as you mentioned, I am in Colorado, and have been here since 2010. So I was on campus, doing this work, and in 2012, when Colorado passed, I think in our Constitution, it says recreational adult use cannabis. There was honestly, the default is panic a lot from our campuses of, what does this mean? What does this look like? What is use going to see in our students, and ultimately, that's very natural. And I have seen that from a number of other states who have either had it on the ballot, trying to prepare for what might come. I've had many conversations with those entities. And we're seeing that up in Montana in the work that we do there, too, of like, what do we do? What does this mean? And ultimately, what we saw here in Colorado, as you preface, an experiment, we have learned a lot of what not to do, and some things to do better in the state.
And I will also say when it was on the ballot, you saw it everywhere. You saw campaigns, you saw messaging, you saw that this is safe, there's good reasons why it should be legal, so on and so forth. So again, that perception of harm decreased primarily in our K through 12 environments, which ultimately, you know, those students went on to college. So we saw an uptick in, ever use, so trying it. And we saw an increase in our chronic daily users. So those folks, those students who were already choosing to have cannabis be a part of their life, they simply chose to use more. But our typical user, our more regular user kind of, there was a little increase, but really plateaued. And honestly, again, it's been a decade. It doesn't feel like it's any different than any other substance. It's more normal, you don't see ads everywhere, you don't -- anyway, so I will say that if you're in a space of it is on the ballot, or it's just recently passed, or it's coming up, it's natural to go through this panic mode of what to do. And ultimately, there's been a lot of work done in the field about what this means, what this looks. We're still getting some information about what does responsible use look like, what does, you know, using multiple substances at once, all the research that, you know, our colleague, Dr. Jason Kilmer is leading and his colleagues.
Anyways, that's all to say a lot of great information and research is more readily available now than it was ten years ago. We still have a long way to go, especially when we think about, again, evidence-based practices, and adapting for our campuses. But anyways, coming back to actual question, what has been the biggest impact on college, nations colleges and universities? This may sound naive, or maybe in my brain, I don't know, for me, it wasn't much. You know, on a college campus, I received federal funding, as most institutions do. So therefore, on college campus, it is still federally illegal to use, whether it's a prescription or not. So talking and educating our students around that, talking to our parents, especially out of state parents, worried about what that means to come to Colorado, and they're leaving their students there. It's still federally illegal to use on campus. We did a lot of education around what, again, what does it mean to use responsibly, because we know absence of said substance isn't a reality, doesn't work. We've got to meet where students may be, what that means, what does it look like to actually use? And if you choose to use, what does that mean to do responsibly? But we leaned into the Drug-Free Schools and Communities Act. We were very mindful to not have conflicting messaging.
So it's not like we were allowed ads in our campus newspaper for local cannabis shops or anything like that. Like, we were very intentional to not mix the messaging around what is okay and what isn't okay. So, I know it's a fine line as professionals, specifically around substances that are federally illegal, but states and even municipalities like in the county that I'm in and the city that I was in decided not to have any dispensaries. And so there's layers and layers to it all. But I just want to say it's going to be okay. Prevention is prevention. And if you're preventing one substance or one issue, you're likely impacting something else as well. So, yeah, that's kind of like my lens on it. There's a lot of learn, there's a lot to still learn, we can obviously still do better, but it's going to be okay. And there's a lot of people who have already gone through it to be there as a resource.
Rich Lucey: No, absolutely. And in my, you know, travels, both virtual and in-person over the last decade or so, I keep coming back, I keep trying to also guide people to come back to the prevention science, that I was a bit disheartened over the last five years or so, when I feel like some professionals on campuses are treating marijuana, cannabis, like a separate, like, magic substance, no pun intended, that they have to treat differently. And I just said, you know, first of all, stop that. I mean, try to, it's a little bit of the tough love in me. But you have a strategic prevention framework. Again, it comes back to the SPF. It doesn't matter what drug you're dealing with. The SPF is your guide. And so, you know, whether it's meth, or heroin, or alcohol, or marijuana, you know, you don't want to treat them differently. You said, you just said, you know, we ensure, work toward not having conflicting messages. That is a hallmark of prevention science, is that there's clear and consistent messaging again. So, you know, there are lessons learned also, from all the work that we've done around preventing alcohol misuse. We think about risk factors like alcohol density, community norms, and those kinds of things. Well, now we're seeing the same things, I think, with cannabis, with dispensaries, and outlets, and norms. So absolutely, the connections are there. So we don't want to throw all that out, we can learn from it.
Mallory Jordan: Right. Right. And I appreciate that, because that's 100% true. And I want to, like, caution that it's not, it's not, I know we have some colleagues who tend to just substitute cannabis, or substitute alcohol. It's like, it's not that.
Rich Lucey: It's not a fill-in-the-blank thing. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Right.
Mallory Jordan: Fill-in-the-blank thing. But there is, again, a lot of fundamental policies, practices, frameworks at SPF that we can use to do this work. And ultimately, again, I would encourage my colleagues out there to do research around this work so we can continue to build the evidence-based practices for other institutions to replicate, modify, adapt to what they're doing on what we see as beneficial. There was something that you said that I wanted to circle back to. But I'm blanking for a moment, so we'll see if it comes back to me.
Rich Lucey: That's okay. Yeah, because I also want to give a shout-out a bit to the Rocky Mountain HIDTA, which is the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area, because I'm often asked, or if I'm asked about, you know, what's been the impact of legalizing marijuana, I mean, I looked at the two oldest states, that obviously Colorado was first, and the Rocky Mountain HIDTA annually produces a report on this very thing, the impact of legalizing marijuana in the state. I have to check to see what Washington State, I believe that they're doing something similar with some entity in the state, but the resources, or I should say the information is out there, if people are looking to educate themselves on, you know, what has been the impact of, you know, of this around the country? I'll lastly say, you know, you mentioned the issue of the reduction of perception of harm. We know that, from the Monitoring the Future data, you know, which is, you know, one of the hallmarks that I look at when we're looking at survey data, the perception of harm of regular marijuana use is at its lowest point in decades. And so we know that when perception of harm goes down, typically use will go up. And so, you know, definitely, it is not a harmless substance. There are very few, if any, and so I think that we need to keep promoting and educating people around that, that there certainly are costs and consequences. Did you circle back to remember what you wanted to mention?
Mallory Jordan: Yes, it's there. But it's kind of like now on a tangent. I was thinking about policy. So, policy on your campus, what does that look like? Another layer of again, messaging, what your policies are on campus also communicates that type of message. So, for those who are about to go, or have, or whatnot, policy around use and/or having a substance, it's just another layer that's really important to be mindful of. Yeah.
Rich Lucey: Absolutely. And hopefully people will get out of listening to our interview is, as we know, the issues that we deal with are complex. There's very rarely a simple solution. Anybody who's heard me speak, I talk about the fact that this is not a cookie-cutter process. You know, what worked at Colorado State, let's just stay in your state. What worked at Colorado State doesn't necessarily work at the University of Colorado. Or if I go to my home state, you know, what happens in the upper Adirondacks, you know, at SUNY Potsdam may not necessarily work down in the city at John Jay Criminal, you know, Justice. So, you know, it's complex, it's intricate, it's nuanced. It's all of that stuff. I'm going to, I want to go to my third question, and I mentioned in your bio, and we both have experience in this. It's been a while for me, but I want to talk a little bit about statewide coalitions. You have a history of being part of a statewide coalition to prevent drug use among college students. So I have a two-part question. It's the plus and minus, if you will. What do you see are the benefits of being in a statewide coalition? And then what might be some of the challenges with statewide efforts?
Mallory Jordan: Well, I think how you ended our last questions is a great transition to this. So, as you just said, I am part of two statewide coalitions. I'm the project director for our coalition up in Montana and here in Colorado, and even within our state, there are drastically different things that work at, again, one institution or another.
So, I'm going to start with the challenges. And that happens in the field in general, right? We, as a coalition, love to think that we're putting out or providing resources that's going to be amazing for all of our campuses on coalition. However, we need to be intentional about the ability to adapt it for the different types of institutions, whether it's a two-year, four-year, public, private, rural, urban, what have you. Those are things that we are constantly mindful of, of the different types of institutions, different types of student populations, the different types of communities in which our institutions are embedded in. So, our University of Colorado Denver, which is in metro Denver, it's very different than our two-year north, NJC, Northeastern Junior College up in Sterling, Colorado. Very different populations, but both very intentionally involved in the coalition. So, how do we serve both institutions with different resources, different capacities, and understanding of the work that we're doing? So that can be a challenge, because we're constantly meeting each campus where they're at as project staff.
On the benefit side of it, I'm obviously biased. But I see a numerous amount of benefits to being part of a statewide coalition. First I go to is camaraderie, understanding and building connection with others in your state. So, even though each of our campuses are different, there's still state pride culture differences, even Colorado and Montana are very different, even though they're both in the Rocky Mountain region. And so, just having that commonality of being in the same state, also potentially impacted by state, again, policies, systems, approaches, requirements, things of that nature that we can connect on, and understand, and talk about, find resolutions around that may be a little more difficult to discuss with someone outside of your state. So, with camaraderie, the relationships, the maybe unintentional or intentional mentor-mentee pieces of that, I see as a huge benefit, when sometimes you may be the only person on your campus doing this work. And so, and being able to connect and learn from others who are doing this is a huge benefit.
In that same vein of voice, there's a huge, in my opinion, power in a shared voice. So, having a coalition that has all of these campuses involved in, and are communicating what their issues are, and where the gaps are in what they are needing, has a lot of weight to bring about change. And I'm thinking, again, state governments, policies, potential funding opportunities, additional relationships at our college populations tend to be forgotten sometimes, and when we think about the health issues that are impacting our population, and so being able to have a coalition is a way to reach that population and provide resources to our campuses.
So, there's power in that shared voice. And then, I mean, this is a no-brainer, I probably should have started here, is the sharing of resources. So being able to tap on your neighbor who's doing something well, or again, may have more resources and capacity than you do, or hey, I created this amazing thing, we've done data analysis around this, this is the impact of it. I want to share it with my colleagues in the state, try it out see if that happens and works for you all, is a simple sharing of resources, and knowledge, and brainstorming of what does and what doesn't work in their own community. So, I talked a lot about benefits, a few challenges. Mainly the one-size-fits-all, but it doesn't, is where my mind goes to. But yeah, that's, I'm a huge fan of our statewide coalitions.
Rich Lucey: And I think there are about 30 states, give or take, that have, you know, a statewide effort. But I'd have to say that, you know, without having done the real analysis of all 30 coalitions, I think that the benefits and the challenges that you mentioned would be common across, if not every one of them, then most of them. I know it was true from my days in overseeing the statewide work in New York. We had ten different regions, as you will, so we had ten separate consortia around the, we called them consortia, not coalitions. I guess, New York, we had to be different. I don't know. That's how I learned that word. But you know, we had ten different consortia around the state of New York, and then we had the statewide, you know, we brought them all together in a statewide effort as well. And, well, you mentioned, it was the camaraderie, the relationships, the mentorship, whether that was formal or informal, and the information sharing. Every, you know, across the state, regardless of whether it was urban, rural, suburban, public, private, big, little, didn't matter. You know, they all had those benefits in common.
And then, you know, the challenge. Yeah, again, what worked in one region of the state might not work in another part of the state, just because of culture, geography, resources, what have you. And so, having that flexibility, another key word in prevention, adaptation that you just mentioned, yeah. Just, you know, I see that as well. But, as I go to the next question, this is going to be like the perfect segue, because all of these things, I know from my time in working at the Department of Education with the National Meeting, I've talked to the folks, Jim and Cindy at the Higher Ed Center, and the current iteration of the National Meeting, and I see it at the Strategies Conference, these exact words come up all the time. It's the morale booster. It's the feeling that I'm not in this alone. And I can lean on and lean in on some others to help support me. So, as I mentioned, you and, so again, if you don't know for our listeners, DEA a strong supporter, in fact, co-sponsor of Strategies Conference. I've been at the last, I don't even know how many, in my time when I was at Department of Ed. And when I was at CSAP, so I've kept that relationship and please, that DEA is able to help co-sponsor the Strategies Conference. And, you know, I see your title, how it aligns with the tracks, if you will. I don't know that we really call them tracks, I think you call them conferences, the different conferences, right?
Mallory Jordan: We do call them, yeah, mm-hmm. Mm-hmm.
Rich Lucey: But, so for folks who may not really know much about the Strategies Conference, you know, they're more or less four conferences in one, where there's one that focuses on alcohol and drug misuse, one around sexual violence prevention, one on mental health promotion, and then one on well-being and health promotion. I think that started out more as for the directors of these disciplines. But, you know, as I mentioned, you're a Senior Director for Health, Safety and Well-Being at NASPA. And so how do you see all these various tracks, disciplines, conferences, intersecting and supporting the professionals who are collaborating, you know, across the disciplines?
Mallory Jordan: Yeah. So, I want to first start out and, I guess, own, recognize that we have a number of small colleges, and universities, and two-years where they have one, if they're lucky, two people who are doing all of these things. So, by providing, you know, the NASPA Strategies Conferences, that, I don't want to call it a one-stop shop, but they're able to pick and choose which events, which conference, which session speaks most of the issues, again, they're seeing on their campus, their student population, what have you. So, I just wanted to own that, not every campus is able to have someone in each of these four areas or multiple, whatever. Just wanted to own that.
Rich Lucey: We call them, at DEA, just so people know, we call those collateral duties. So you're wearing the four hats. Yes.
Mallory Jordan: Yes. And so, just wanted to own those people. I see you, I hear you. I work with you all the time. Thank you for all your work. For those folks at NASPA Strategies who do have the amazing opportunity to have potentially, again, one or more people in those other areas, or whole departments dedicated to these areas of health, I think by attending the NASPA Strategies Conferences, we're able to highlight through our keynotes, our plenaries, and again, hoping people go to different sessions. It's not like you register for one conference, you only go to one conference. You have the ability to go to any session. And I think, again, at the field, we are leaning into the fact of you're preventing, you're focusing and preventing, or promoting one thing, it impacts the other thing. So if we're thinking about mental health and coping mechanisms of when we're not feeling our best, are we then utilizing more healthy coping mechanisms instead of substance use? That impacts that, and so on and so forth.
Same thing around sexual violence prevention response, how does alcohol and other substances show up in that space? And what does that mean? What does that look like? Same thing with well-being and health promotion leadership, is the name of the conference. But you're right, kind of starts with this overall umbrella. And it's, I think, bleeding into these areas of, we're thinking of system-level approaches. If we're creating systems and communication lines, that we are more intentionally collaborating and working with one another as a whole entity, instead of these silos that we know exist. They are real. But I think again, it comes back to upper administration, the folks who are designing and have the power to make some changes around our systems really impacts our day-to-day collaboration around communication, again, policy, information sharing capacity, which we've talked about a lot of these things already.
But ultimately, at Strategies, I know, we're very intentional with the sessions that we accept, as you being on part of our conference planning committees, you know that's a very intentional piece of our design of what are the sessions being offered? Is there intentionality of being potentially cross-disciplines, if you will, on breaking down those silos a little more intentionally to do the work, better work, building the capacity. Again, it's not just one person staying in this lane, how can we share the work to make a bigger impact? So we're trying to design strategies to be more intentional in that space. And it comes with, again, our volunteers, it comes with our presenters, our keynote, our plenaries, it's a whole big event. I'm very passionate, again, very biased by it, as you all know. But yeah, it's a great place to learn, to share, to lean, to collaborate, get resources across the different disciplines, or the different conferences, different tracks, whatever you want to call them.
Rich Lucey: So, yeah, and I, you know, I hear the passion in your voice. And I, you know, at the risk of this sounding like an endorsement, which the federal government does not do, it is one of the events, and, admittedly, over the last three years, you know, I have attended virtually. Certainly, I know it is no way shape or form the same. You know, you do miss the personal interaction, the true physical, personal interaction in the hallway conversations is what we call them, because a lot happens, you know, in those just conversations. It's how I get to meet new people, meet two potential guests for the podcast, you know, views from the field, content for campusdrugprevention.gov. So, very much looking forward to, you know, being back in person, but it offers just so much for everyone. And while I try not to be all things to all people, you know, that happens. I don't know if you've done any evaluation on this, without putting you on the spot. But you know, you mentioned, you know, just because I may wear, you know, the drug use and misuse prevention hat on my campus, that doesn't preclude me from going to, you know, a session or two around sexual violence prevention. Do you see much in the evaluations, or is it anecdotal, you're hearing in the hallways that people are cross-collaborating on that, or cross-attending, if you will, the different conferences? They're not feeling like they're with blinders on, only going to certain sessions within their --
Mallory Jordan: Their conference, their discipline?
Rich Lucey: Yeah.
Mallory Jordan: I think that's a great question, Rich. And I think that may be something we look at this upcoming evaluation, because I think it'd be very interesting to know. I think it depends on how our attendees are showing up. We have attendees who are brand new to the field. We have, again, VPs, AVPs, and everyone in between. So there is a little bit again, self-ownership and that self-selection of what is most applicable and beneficial for my time at this event, to build my own capacity.
So if I have very specific job responsibilities, I'm probably not, that is like, in one conference, I'm probably going to design my conference to go to that. I will say that's where our keynotes and our plenaries are. We tried to be very intentional about the messaging of those individuals that we are speaking to all four conferences at once, to encourage and/or open eyes that this is a systems, a piece, a conversation, a potential of all of these are intertwined. And we all can connect the dots as to how they impact one another. So, even though an attendee might not intentionally be going to sessions from all four conferences, we're still providing information content, our exhibiting hall, or our receptions, our poster receptions. Or there's potential ways to kind of bleed that information into the entire event. I like --
Rich Lucey: Yeah, I brought it up mainly because it was this notion of, as I, you know, came off my experience at SAMSA and the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, when there was, the word being used was integration. And they were looking at the integration of substance abuse, that was the word used at the time, and mental health. And I never liked that word, because it set up, in my opinion, turf wars. Because it set up winners and losers in terms of funding, and programming, and staff, and all that stuff. And so, I much prefer the term alignment, which is how I, you know, when I do my presentations and such, and how I go into an event like the Strategies Conference is that, sure, my primary focus is going to be in the alcohol and drug use prevention conference.
But having access to all of the sessions, I may see something in the mental health promotion or in the sexual violence prevention conference, that I will see a connection to or an alignment to, you know, channeling my, you know, my best Laurie Davidson, as we all do, you know, that when we say, look, alcohol and drug misuse prevention is suicide prevention, you know, because of the connections. And so, you know, I like the alignment piece. And sure, obviously, people are coming in, they know what the priorities are back on their own home campus or their community. So they know what they're coming to this conference, looking to get out of it. But, you know, I've always liked the way that NASPA has set up the event, as these four, if you will separate, but, you know, connected, you know, conferences. I kind of laughed/twitched when you used the word silos, because people that know me, and now people on the podcast will know, I am not a fan of the cliche "breaking down the silos," I am totally not a fan of that. And it stems from people that I know who grew up on farms, who like to say, you know what, silos have a real purpose.
Mallory Jordan: They do
Rich Lucey: So let's not break them down. And I get the theoretical and the metaphorical, you know, idea of it. But I, in all honesty, you know, I, when I go to this conference and such, you know, my 31 now, plus almost 32 years of experience in the prevention space, whether it's at state government level or federal government level, I don't think I even know enough about sexual violence prevention to be dangerous. I wouldn't want to. I know the concepts, I know what I need to know, I would never say that I'm an expert, that I should be in that lane. That, you know, I admire and respect the professionals who are in that space. And so I get a little out of sorts, you know, when we talk about the breaking down of the silos, because I think our respective areas of subject matter expertise are so important.
Mallory Jordan: Absolutely.
Rich Lucey: I just, I get afraid when the meshing and the, you know, alignment, interconnected, I'm totally with you on that. But I get worried about the, you know, silos have a purpose. That's, I always come back to that.
Mallory Jordan: They do. They do. Our colleague here at NASPA loves to use the term "the silos of excellence." Like, they exist for a reason.
Rich Lucey: Oh, there you go. There you go.
Mallory Jordan: I appreciate that lens and that perspective, right, so like, thank you. And I hear you. Like, there's a purpose and design. I'm excited again, for this more, the upper administrative positions that have an opportunity to be in that lane, not lane, that position to quote-unquote, break down the silos. But they're not breaking, they're more intentional alignment of the different areas then.
Rich Lucey: They're seeing the bigger picture, too.
Mallory Jordan: Exactly, exactly.
Rich Lucey: Yeah, yeah.
Mallory Jordan: So, I appreciate that perspective. Thank you, Rich.
Rich Lucey: Yeah, you're welcome. Well, as we conclude, I offer up my fifth question, as I do with all the guests. I sort of feel like, so now, throw in my pop culture reference, as I tend to do all the time on the things. It's like my ability to be James Lipton, who hosted "Inside the Actor's Studio" for all those years, he always ended the interviews with, like, the same question of his guests, no matter who it was. So, what do you want to say to your peers, the professionals who are working, either on campus or in a community, working to prevent drug misuse among college students? What is it you want to say to them to encourage them in their work?
Mallory Jordan: Well, I think what I'm going to say is nothing new. Our jobs are hard. They're often unnecessarily polarized by politics, by culture, by stigma, by racism, by sexism, by all -isms. That can be really heavy, and be a big burdensome, whether again, that's your state, whether that's federal, whether that's your college campus, whether that's your community that you live in, whether that's your home life. There's a lot of what we do in this work, that can be really heavy and really hard. And just what I want to say is, we have to take care of ourselves. I know it's, again, a little bit cliche. We all know this. We have to take care of ourselves to be able to take care of others, especially when we think about our students. And this time of their life and transition where, whether they realize it or not, may be leaning on us more than they think they are. We're there for them.
So it's ultimately like I want you all to be seen, be heard. I want to thank you for your passion, your time, your energy. Remember why you're doing this, what your whys are that bring you to work every day. And to ultimately, like continue to find the joys in your life, make time for them. And just truly know that you are enough, and I appreciate you all. Like, I have a lot of gratitude for the professionals who are doing this work. And I just, we get so tied up in our day-to-days that sometimes we don't make time for those pieces. So I just, I'm not the best person who takes care of myself first, based on, again, my bio of my humans and the other people who rely on me every day, but I just, I want to own that their jobs are hard, and find your happy moments.
Rich Lucey: Absolutely. There were a couple of takeaways of what you said that I'll reiterate here. You know, for those of us who are in positions, yourself at a national association, so you see a national picture. I, working at the federal government, see a national picture as well. For our listeners, oftentimes the work that you do, it does seem that you might be the only one doing this, and you feel a bit isolated, and that you're not being seen and you're not being heard. But you heard Mallory say it, you'll hear me say it, from our perspectives, whether it's at a conference like the Strategies Conference, or interactions through email, or a Zoom meeting, or whatever, you are being seen. We are seeing you, we do hear you, we may not be able to move the mountains we want as quickly as we want for change. We know in prevention, that doesn't happen. But we are, you know, supporting in the best way that we can to advance our field. So I love what you said about, you know, being seen and being heard. A little facetiously, but with genuineness, I will say I may not be a fan of breaking down the silos, but I could totally get behind breaking down the polarization. Because I love what you said, and hadn't heard it said necessarily that way. There's a lot of ways in which our field can intentionally or unintentionally be polarized, and the work we do is one, complex, and two, serious. We don't have time for that. We really, you know, we're not doing ourselves any favors by, you know, engaging in that or buying into it. So I can totally get behind, you know, a movement on breaking down the polarization. So thank you for that, Mallory, I appreciate that a lot.
Mallory Jordan: My pleasure.
Rich Lucey: So, with that, Mallory, thank you again for being on the podcast. You've been a great guest. I knew that you would be. I love your perspectives, both from your work in, you know, in a couple of states specifically, but also your national perspective. And I'll say for, you know, DEA's behalf, we love working with you and the rest of the staff at NASPA, from Kevin right and on down. You all are great partners in the work that we do.
Mallory Jordan: Well, thank you, Richard. It's been a pleasure. You should -- or, you do too, I should say. There's one.
Rich Lucey: Absolutely. And I look forward to seeing you -- I know. That's okay. I'm looking forward to seeing you in person in Kansas City in January at the Strategies Conference again, so you know, folks who don't know necessarily about the Strategies Conference, we'll put that in the show notes. But you certainly can use your favorite search engine and look it up. And, you know, maybe we'll get to see you there. So, for our listeners, again, I thank you for listening in to not only this episode of "Prevention Profiles: Take Five," but even listening to all of the previous episodes. So, with that, I will say have a great day.