Indiana University Bloomington

Indiana Prevention Resource Center (IPRC)

Office of Alternative Screening and Intervention Services (OASIS)

With the return of Fall comes back to school, football, holiday celebrations and many other traditions for young people, especially for college students. Many of these annual college traditions involve making choices about whether or not to consume alcohol. Unfortunately, many college students choose to drink while underage and often drink in excess. Unsafe decisions with alcohol and high risk behaviors like binge drinking, driving under the influence of alcohol, fighting and property destruction go hand in hand.

At Indiana University, there is a unique method for addressing students that violate the student’s ethics code by: drinking underage, having alcohol on campus, and/or getting arrested within Monroe County for drug/alcohol related issues. Instead of disciplinary punishment, students have an opportunity to gain from a negative experience by becoming more educated about their drinking decisions and make changes for a safer experience while at college.

The Office of Alternative Screening and Intervention Services (OASIS) helps students evaluate their plan for their time at Indiana University-Bloomington (IUB) and find ways to make their collegiate career more successful. Although students can request a meeting with an OASIS counselor, most students are at OASIS as a consequence for some involvement with alcohol or other drugs while enrolled as a student at IUB. Whether drinking on campus, being intoxicated on campus at a school event, or even being present in a dorm room where alcohol is being consumed, a student will be referred to OASIS. Students can also receive university sanctions from the Student Ethics and Judicial Board including a referral to OASIS for off campus alcohol or drug related police encounters within Bloomington including: Driving under the influence, minor in possession alcohol, presenting false identification to enter a bar, or public intoxication. Based on OASIS statistics, students drink in an off campus environment most of the time. Many students do not realize that their actions off campus can affect their lives on-campus and vice versa. Despite the severity of the students’ actions, each student is given an opportunity to work with a counselor one-on-one to enhance their motivation to meet their personal goals of completing their education while balancing their ideas about college life and having fun.

The counselors at OASIS use a variety of primary prevention techniques (education to the entire university through campaigns, special presentations and events) and secondary prevention techniques (counseling, group meetings and referrals to treatment services). OASIS seeks to decrease the number of students on IUB’s campus and within the Bloomington community with alcohol and drug related offenses and increase awareness about safe decision making.

Last year over 1,500 students participated in one of three programs offered by OASIS: Alcohol Alternative Intervention Program (AAIP), Marijuana Intervention Program (MIP), and Successfully Managing Alcohol Responsibly & Together (SMART). Within each program students spend between one to eight sessions with a counselor evaluating choices and setting personal expectations. Sessions follow National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) recommendations for prevention interventions with college-age populations.

The in-session techniques include: Cognitive Skills Training (understanding what students think about alcohol and why), Motivational Enhancement (understanding what motivates students to drink/not drink and how to motivate them to make safer choices in the future), Norms Clarifications (compare the student’s drinking behaviors in comparison to peers) and Challenging Expectancies (what could take place when the student drinks in the future). In addition to speaking with the counselor, all participants complete an on-line survey (E-CHUG) about their drinking and this allows them to compare their own actions to those of peers across the country.

Students use the time with the counselor to evaluate what high risk behavior brought them to OASIS and what they can do to avoid having similar experiences again. “My goal as a therapist is to look at each student that comes in and find some piece of our time together that will help them be successful. I don’t aim to convince them to stop drinking. Instead I ask them to look at their decisions and behaviors and then we figure out how drinking and other unsafe choices fit into their plan for where they want to go in life,” stated Mallori DeSalle, OASIS therapist. By the end of the session, students are asked to make some personal goals for themselves to lead to a more successful outcome during the rest of their time at IU.

OASIS is one of many on-campus efforts to address college-drinking and binge-drinking it is one of the many programs run in partnership with the Alcohol Drug Information Center (ADIC). Additional efforts are currently underway already for the start of the school year including: Welcome Week Presence in all Dorms, “Keep the Promise” campaign to encourage first year students to avoid underage drinking, Classroom presentations, and Alcohol-EDU: an online class for all first year students. For more information about what drug/alcohol prevention efforts are taking place at Indiana University Bloomington, contact Mallori DeSalle at the IPRC mdesalle@indiana.edu or Jackie Daniels at OASIS at danieljm@indiana.edu or Walt Keller at The Alcohol Drug Information Center (ADIC) at adic@indiana.edu. OASIS is located on the 7th floor of Eigenmann Hall; Room 726 W. Indiana University-Bloomington Student questions can be addressed by calling 812-856-3898.

 

By Mallori Desalle,   10/1/2011