In June, the College of William and Mary was recognized by Health Communications Inc. and was awarded the 2013 TIPS Award. The College was one of five institutions of higher learning that received the honor for promoting responsible alcohol consumption.
HCI, which grants the award, provides an alcohol education program called Training for Intervention Procedures. It is used by universities, servers at establishments where alcohol is available to customers — like concession stands or casinos — and various other organizations around the country. The College offers TIPS training sessions for individuals and student organizations that wish to host events with alcohol. TIPS’ newsletter states the award is given to universities based on the volume of TIPS training at the institution and on feedback from both participants and trainers.
“TIPS is designed to train event hosts to keep their guests safe while consuming alcohol,” Health Promotion Specialist Sarah Menefee said in an email. “Therefore, the curriculum covers standard drink measurements, recognizing signs that a guest is intoxicated, and reviews and practices skills to intervene in a variety of potentially dangerous situations.”
Section III D of the College’s Alcohol Beverage Policy states any event being held on campus with more than eight individuals over the room, apartment or lodge’s occupancy must be registered with the Office of Student Leadership Development if alcohol is being served. The Health Promotion section of the College’s website specifies that student organizations must have members undergo TIPS training before they can register a social event with alcohol.
At the College, students in TIPS training review the program’s national curriculum and then participate in the “Event Management Seminar,” which covers the school’s requirements for students hosting events with alcohol on campus.
“The main difference you’d see between [the College] and other campuses is that by partnering with Student Leadership Development, we add a component to the TIPS curriculum that teaches our students about [William and Mary]-specific policies and procedures,” Menefee said.
Director of the Office of Student Leadership Development Anne Arseneau ’89 M. Ed. ’92 said the College has used the TIPS program for years as one source of alcohol education for students.
“We have a long-standing commitment to this program as a way to help us underpin the education that we’re doing,” Arseneau said. “Not every campus makes the decision to allow alcohol on campus. … Our obligation is to set up our students well if they choose to take advantage of the fact that we allow them to host events with alcohol.”
Other College alcohol education programs, such as Alcohol Edu, which is required for incoming students, provide information on responsible consumption of alcohol. Stephanie Dimos ’15, who completed TIPS training, said she found overlap between the two programs.
“A lot of the informational things I had learned in Alcohol Edu, and I remembered them at some point during [the TIPS training], so it was a good review,” Dimos said.
Arseneau said she is pleased with the recognition from TIPS and with the College’s steps to encourage responsible alcohol consumption.
“It was a pleasant surprise for us to hear that our appreciation of their program and our long-standing use of it was something they felt was recognition-worthy,” Arseneau said. “We’re thrilled to be recognized in the area for doing something to promote alcohol education and harm reduction.”