By Jessica Parton–
For incoming freshmen, the mandatory course in alcohol awareness has changed its face since 2013.
For many years, students have been required to complete online sessions of lectures and quizzes about adjusting to college with the numerous extracurricular activities that may occur involving alcohol. This course was conducted using the website “Alcohol Edu,” but after in-depth deliberation, the Tarleton campus has transitioned from this site to the new program known as Campus Clarity.
According to the Tarleton website, this course is still mandatory for all first time freshmen and for any transfer students coming to Tarleton with less than 30 credit hours. The three-part course must be completed in its entirety to meet university requirements in March of 2015.
This course has been a requirement for the university in an effort to promote its desired comprehensive and alcohol prevention program. The Clarity program’s officials feel that this new course is far more comprehensive by including information about alcohol, drug and violence prevention. While the main goal is to inform new students, officials are confident that Campus Clarity provides numerous ways to keep the student involved.
“Part of the reason we transitioned from Alcohol Edu to Campus Clarity was because it addressed the important topics in a frank and relatable manner,” said Dr. Stephanie Robertson, director of the Student Counseling Center, in an email interview.
“In terms of content, Campus Clarity is very comprehensive and addresses the interconnected issues of hookup culture, drinking/party culture (alcohol safety and drug information), sexual violence, and healthy relationships,” Robertson said.
Like Tarleton, many universities have made the switch to Campus Clarity but some have not quite received the same positive results. In her online article “Think About It: Mandatory survey creates concern,” Terrapin Frazier, a student at Mills College in Oakland, California, explains how some students reported that they were asked somewhat inappropriate questions regarding their sexual lifestyles. In the article, Mills College student Katy Harechmak said she was offended that the course questioned her use of pregnancy preventatives during intercourse.
The Tarleton Student Counseling Center wants all students to know that though some questions in the program are more personal, the anonymity and confidentiality of the student’s answers are guaranteed.
“While some student information is asked in Part 1 of the course, there is no possible way for anyone at Tarleton to access information about another student,” said James Benton, a graduate assistant in the Student Counseling Center, in an email interview. “Most, if not all, information gathered in Campus Clarity is used to get an idea about trends on the Tarleton campus in order to compare to other colleges in the effort to improve campus life and the program itself.”
According to Robertson, the feedback at Tarleton has been positive from this change; many additional comments that were made at the end of the course were expressed in an appreciation of the realistic situations presented throughout the lectures. Even though the ultimate goal of the course is to spread awareness of alcohol and drug prevention, the program also outlines resources for education, bystander intervention, and resources available, should students need assistance.
“We have had absolutely no students raise issues with this survey, but in order to address any potential problems, we are already working with Campus Clarity to modify any questions about which they’ve received feedback,” Robertson said. “The goal of the program is to help students understand the choices they are making, the potential impact of those choices on their lives and to assist them in avoiding risk and staying safe.”