ID: Reflection on alcohol programs — Improving alcohol programs with CollegeAIM
By Katie Colson
October 1, 2015
Idaho is exploring new ideas to help students make better decisions about alcohol. One of these ideas is the Alcohol Intervention Matrix, or CollegeAIM.
Sharon Fritz, a psychologist at the Counseling and Testing Center, said CollegeAIM is a system that provides different strategies to schools looking to help their students.
“It is an opportunity to take a time out and reflect on what we’ve been doing,” Fritz said.
A recent study from the National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism found that the first six weeks are the most dangerous time for freshman — according to the study, 40 percent of freshmen report having five or more drinks in one sitting during that time.
The study also found there are an estimated 1,825 student deaths and 696,000 alcohol-related injuries each year in the U.S.
At UI, there are already intervention strategies in place. CollegeAIM allows the UI to assess its own programs and implement new ones that will be most effective in the areas needed, Fritz said.
Currently, UI uses strategies like Alcohol 101, a peer-facilitated outreach program, and “Think About It,” a mandatory program for all new students.
Questionnaires from the students about strategies used at UI have shown that evidence-based programs are not effective. Fritz said she thinks CollegeAIM will help provide them with more alternative methods.
The university does a survey every other fall that assess student drinking habits and how well current programs are working. The next one will be conducted this semester. The Campus Community Task Force will look over the results, and decide which strategies from CollegeAIM will be implemented, Fritz said.
The Campus Community Coalition, a group that works with campus and the Moscow community to create a better environment, will work on environmental factors related to alcohol. One of the strategies they will be looking into is working on enforcing the drinking age. Fritz said the coalition also plans to approach the local drinking establishments about lessening or eliminating their specials, which often encourage students to drink more.
Fritz said CollegeAIM will be an opportunity to see what the UI should do, could do and what to not do.