The Department of Campus Life is introducing a new committee this year to provide education and support to students who may encounter alcohol during their time on campus.
The new alcohol advisary committee is made up of south-side hall directors Michelle Lisack and Brent Olinger, and two upper-class Viking Advisers (VAs).
“College is a time when many students will experiment with alcohol,” said Cali DiOrio-Saye, assistant director of Campus Life and Stavig hall director. “Our job is to make sure they are safe.”
The committee’s goal is not to prevent alcohol consumption on campus, but inform students how they can drink safely.
Sophomores Jill Schott and Shauna Pauli agree that preventative education is less effective than informative education.
Schott said that oftentimes students have already made up their minds about whether or not they are going to drink in college before arriving on campus, so the best thing to do is teach them how to be safe.
Junior Joscelyn Schipper said she has mixed feelings about the committee.
“I feel like it would be a good resource for people who might have a problem but not know it,” Schipper said. “But I don’t know how it will help our reputation as a dry campus. I don’t know, it could be good.”
According to the most recent survey done by Augustana in November 2015, 86 percent of students had consumed alcohol within the past 30 days.
Hall directors report that alcohol use has appeared to remain steady since then.
According to a survey by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, in 2015, almost 60 percent of college students ages 18–22 drank alcohol in the past month. Almost 2 out of 3 of students engaged in binge drinking during that same timeframe.
DiOrio-Saye said that one of the main obstacles with alcohol education is getting the students to pay attention to the information they are given and take it seriously.
Students often hear the information and disregard it or choose not to attend alcohol education meetings, DiOrio-Saye said.
By putting VAs at the forefront of the committee, Campus Life is hoping to create a peer-to-peer experience that will cause students to listen more closely to the information they are receiving.
Pauli said that she would likely approach a VA about a problem before a hall director.
Additionally, VAs will be doing more purposeful walkthroughs of their floors, and the VA’s on-call will make more efforts to converse with students to create a friendly and supportive environment.
“We want students to know that we are here to support you,” Diorio-Saye said.
DiOrio-Saye said students who are concerned that they or someone they know may be struggling with alcohol addiction should contact their VA, hall director or Campus Life.