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W&M recognized for alcohol education efforts

William & Mary’s alcohol training efforts have earned the university national recognition.

The university recently received the 2013 TIPS Award of Excellence from Health Communications, Inc., (HCI) which provides the TIPS (Training for Intervention Procedures) program.

“We are proud of our long-standing relationship with the TIPS training program and appreciative of the education their curriculum helps us provide to the students and groups who seek to host events with alcohol,” said Anne Arseneau, director of Student Leadership Development at W&M. “Working with the Office of Health Promotion, we know we are providing solid training to our students and student organizations. It is an added bonus to be recognized by Health Communications, Inc. for excellence.”

 “TIPS for the University” is a two-hour program that helps students make sound choices when faced with difficult decisions about alcohol use, according to the release. Student participants work with administrators and other students to address drinking behaviors and develop appropriate intervention techniques.

According to a press release from the organization, William & Mary was one of four campuses in 2013 to receive the award, which is given based on the number of students certified in the program and feedback from trainers and participants.

Since William & Mary began using TIPS in 1989, nearly 1,800 students have become TIPS-certified.

The program at W&M is a collaborative effort between the Health Promotion and Student Leadership Development offices. According to W&M’s alcohol policy, TIPS training is required for student groups who wish to host events. In addition to the TIPS curriculum, the offices have worked together to add a supplemental piece specific to hosting events on W&M's campus. It includes registering events with Student Leadership Development and abiding by the campus’ alcohol policy.

Sarah Menefee, a health promotion specialist and certified TIPS trainer at W&M, credits the collaboration with Student Leadership Development for the success of the program.

“Along with campuses across the country, William & Mary works hard to reduce high risk drinking,” said Menefee. “TIPS is an important component of a comprehensive approach to keeping students safe if they choose to drink alcohol. As a trainer, I enjoy that the TIPS curriculum provides an interactive format to help our students stay safe while hosting events with alcohol. I find that students are very engaged during the training and leave with skills they can apply not just to hosting events, but to watching out for their friends and creating a responsible environment at William & Mary.”

More than 1,200 campuses nationwide have implemented TIPS for the University. It has also been recognized by the National Registry of Evidence-based Programs and Practices (a project of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) for both the quality and effectiveness of the program.