Millikin strives to develop and implement both passive and active programming that addresses the concerns of alcohol use and abuse. Millikin utilizes the social norming approach in developing these programs. In contrast to a prohibitionary approach, the social norming approach utilizes positive messages regarding alcohol use through correcting false perceptions, thus creating a more positive environment. In layman's terms, social norming encourages students to make informed and positive choices.
Initiatives and Programs
National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week Programming
Millikin University continues to be a national leader in student alcohol training by facilitating the Training for Intervention Procedures (T.I.P.S) program - a part of Millikin's required first year student orientation program. The T.I.P.S program shows students why, when and how to intervene with their peers to prevent alcohol related problems and incidents. T.I.P.S takes into account the unique environment students face including the setting where drinking takes place and the attitudes of college students toward drinking. While Millikin officials continue to encourage students not to consume alcohol, they are taking a more practical approach to the training. In 2000, Millikin became the first university nationwide to implement the alcohol-training program on an institution-wide scale. In 2004, 100% of non-transfer students at the University will be TIPS certified. Millikin's goal for the program is that all students will have a common knowledge, understanding and vocabulary about alcohol-related issues as well as focusing on responsible choices during students' first few weeks on campus. The approach of the program centers on education versus prohibition, and focuses on students being leaders to their peers in the responsible use of alcohol. Millikin's program is designed to articulate to students the University's concern about alcohol use; to educate students on the effects of the use of alcohol and on federal, state and local laws and University rules concerning alcohol use; and to train students how to intervene in potentially dangerous alcohol-related situations.
National Collegiate Alcohol Awareness Week takes place the third week of October and is a time for college campuses to focus on alcohol use and abuse. Millikin observes this week with campus programming and publicity campaigns. With a different theme each year, the week-long observance includes speakers, alternative social programming, and student initiatives such as a pledge campaign. A candlelight vigil usually rounds out the week.
Safe Spring Break Programming
Much like Homecoming, Spring Break has become synonymous with alcohol. Prior to the Spring Break recess, we create a publicity campaign to address possible Spring Break problems. We also implement the Student Life Wellness Fair that includes an area devoted to alcohol education.
Social Norming Campaign
The Social Norming approach reduces campus alcohol consumption by changing student perceptions about how much alcohol their peers consume. Most college students greatly overestimate (or have false perceptions about) the amount of alcohol their peers consume. Those students who have these false perceptions are more likely to consume alcohol themselves. By correcting false perceptions (by disseminating correct information about student alcohol consumption), alcohol consumption is reduced and consequently so are the common results of heavy drinking (vandalism, driving under the influence etc).
The method works through distributing positive messages about student alcohol consumption. For example, a recent survey has shown that 53% of Millikin students have 0-4 drinks per week. Such a message would be advertised to students in order to change their perception; the perception being that most Millikin students (58%) believe that their peers use alcohol 3 or more times per week.
21st Birthday Card Initiative
This method involves sending a greeting card to all Millikin students on their 21st birthday. The card includes social norming messages and informs the recipient that "Most Millikin Students Celebrate Responsibly." We also promote Social Norming through having a birthday cake available in the cafeteria to honor those students who have turned 21 that month.
In addition to direct alcohol education strategies, the OSP also develops programming in other wellness areas where alcohol may be a contributing factor. This ensures that the message of responsible choices remains consistent throughout the academic year.