Alcohol Screening and Prevention, a Student Affairs initiative, opened a support line for Boston College students who want to better understand alcohol policies on campus or have health concerns regarding themselves or their friends. The line is staffed by BC graduate students who are trained in these policies and are pursuing degrees in counseling-related fields. Nic Sperry, the assistant director of recovery and support programs, has said that calling the line, which is open 24/7, will not get students in trouble, and that it is meant to educate students on alcohol policies. This means, for example, that if a student has to call BCPD, he or she can first call this hotline to understand what will happen when he or she calls BCPD.
The conduct system and policies surrounding alcohol use can be obscure to students, who are often unaware of the best course of action after an incident. Knowledge of the process is key in helping students who are dealing with an alcohol incident and are unaware of their options. Dedicating resources to informing students who are affected by these policies is a good step toward making the process more transparent and offering students the help they need. The line also serves as a way to remove the stigma surrounding alcohol policies and seeking help after an incident. Implementing this line allows students to seek it without worrying about repercussions.
It is important to ensure that these resources are used in the most efficient way possible. The line is a good way to reach students and has been publicized at building meetings, which effectively informs students at the beginning of the year. Making sure that students are aware of the support line is key to the program’s success. Resources like this can frequently go unused when a lack of publicization leads to unawareness in the student body.
As the year goes by, ASAP should continue to search for the best way to reach students and build on the progress brought about by this support line. While the phone line is an effective way for students to speak to trained professionals who can offer specific, tailored answers, expansion of the ASAP service through online FAQ forums would be another good way to help students with basic policy information.
ASAP’s other programs, such as public screenings regarding alcohol issues and the Screening Brief Intervention Referral to Treatment initiative, which trains faculty, staff, and student leaders in how to effectively discuss alcohol on campus, are both steps in the right direction.
Featured Image by Julia Hopkins / Heights Editor