College begins programs to teach responsible practices

By Steven Viera ’16, News Editor

The College recently initiated two programs to help promote a safer, more responsible environment: AlcoholEdu, which helps students learn about the risks associated with alcohol consumption and monitor their drinking, and Responsible Resident Communities, focused on teaching students living off-campus how to be better neighbors and members of the local community.

The funding for both programs comes from a $38,945 grant the College received from the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board in addition to $9,000 from local landlords, according to the article “F&M to Introduce Innovative Programs to Promote Responsible Drinking” on F&M’s news website. The College is using these funds to initiate programs, host events and discussions, and provide prizes to students who complete the program; the grand prize is a cruise for two to Mexico, the Bahamas, or the Western Caribbean.

As part of the grant, the College created the College Community Coalition, composed of various officials from agencies across campus in order to implement both AlcoholEdu and Responsible Resident Communities. Offices associated include Counseling Services, Health Services, the Office of Health and Wellness, the Athletic Department, the Office of Fraternity and Sorority Life, the college houses, and more.

AlcoholEdu, a web-based tool, uses informational videos and quizzes to teach students about issues that can arise from hazardous drinking, how to monitor their own drinking habits, and how to care for an intoxicated person. Broken into two portions that are designed to be completed a few weeks apart, part one contains the information about drinking while part two checks whether or not students used the skills they learned in part one. First-years and sophomores must complete parts one and two by Jan. 31 and Mar. 24, respectively.

“Even if you’re not drinking a lot, you can learn something from [AlcoholEdu] and it also helps you learn how to take care of your friends,” said Christine Conway, director of Counseling Services. “It’s about the community.”

According to Conway, many of the College’s previous efforts to address the issue of high-risk alcohol consumption focused on getting students into education programs after they had gone through the disciplinary system. AlcoholEdu, by contrast, attempts to engage students before they have an issue with alcohol.

“I think [AlcoholEdu] provides an easy and accessible tool for students to learn useful facts on alcohol consumption [and] substance use and how to mitigate high risk behavior,” said Margaret Hazlett, dean of the College. “I also think it provides an opportunity for students to reflect on their own choices related to alcohol [and] substance use and gives them a space to think about their health. I have seen this program used at other institutions and am glad we have brought it to F&M. I appreciate the efforts of the [Campus Community Coalition] and will be interested to hear the feedback from students on this online tool.”

To promote the new program, the Coalition worked with students to create a video to inform the student body at-large of AlcoholEdu and the services it provides.

Additionally, the College is conducting another program, Responsible Resident Communities (RRC). This program, targeted at students that live in off-campus housing, hopes to teach students how to be good neighbors and how to keep their neighborhoods safe.

“The focus of [Responsible Resident Community] groups will be on how to keep the neighborhoods safe, how to look out for each other,” Conway said.

RRC is modeled after a program at St. Cloud University in Minnesota, where a landlord asked if the university could teach its students how to be responsible neighbors; after conducting a program, according to Conway, the university noted that there were significantly fewer issues with the landlords and communities.

“What we’re trying to do, with both the AlcoholEdu program and the Responsible Resident Community Program is just partner with students to create a safer and healthier environment at F&M, and encourage students to be responsible about their choices,” Conway said.

Students interested in beginning AlcoholEdu, signing up for RRC, or simply learning more about either program can visit go.fandm.edu/beResponsible.

Sophomore Steven Viera is the News Editor. His email is sviera@fandm.edu.

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