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New alcohol education module replaces BASICS


By Rynd Morgan     8/27/19 10:47pm

New students were required to complete a new alcohol education module, AlcoholEdu, instead of the Brief Alcohol Screening and Intervention for College Students, which had been used for over ten years, according to emails from the Wellbeing and Counseling Center.

According to the email sent to new students, the first part of the new AlcoholEdu course takes about two hours to complete, compared to the old BASICS course, which took about 20 minutes total to complete.

“Like BASICS, AlcoholEdu provides reflective inventory and customized feedback on drinking behaviors, mental and physical effects of alcohol and bystander intervention,” Agnes Ho, director of the Wellbeing Center, said.

The first part of the module, which new students were asked to complete by Aug. 15, is broken down into 11 smaller sections, including an anonymous survey. At the end of the module, students are expected to pass a cumulative exam with a score of at least 70 percent. New students are encouraged but not required to complete the second half of the AlcoholEdu module by Sept. 15. The course is also open to returning students via a link provided by the Wellbeing Center.

The survey asks for information to calculate hypothetical Blood Alcohol Content, such as biological sex, height and weight, as well as demographic information, such as race, gender and sexual orientation, and information about personal experiences with alcohol. Most of the  personal experience and demographic-related questions are optional. 

Ho said that the Wellbeing Center hopes new students will find the information be helpful to better reflect their alcohol use and prepare them to make responsible, reasonable and respectful choices at Rice.

“Through the AlcoholEdu module, students will find more interactive information and realistic scenarios that we believe will keep them more engaged throughout the course,” Ho said. 

Nellie Chen, who is a head caregiver at Hanszen College, said that while new students in the past have been educated well about alcohol, head caregivers have consistently been working to improve the training materials to reflect each new class.

“Educating all new students about alcohol in the same manner allows everyone to be on the same page about [Rice’s culture of care], which leads to a safer and more compassionate campus,” Chen, a junior, said.

The new alcohol training module follows a year of administrative crackdowns on alcohol, including a temporary ban on private gatherings with alcohol at Duncan College and new campus-wide regulations on crawls.

Jennifer Truitt, the head caregiver at Brown College, said she thinks Rice students would benefit from better alcohol safety education.

“Many of us are under a lot of stress and it can be tempting to cope by drinking,” Truitt, a senior, said. “Drinking is an adult decision, which is why we try to let students make it themselves, but it also requires an adult level of maturity to recognize when one’s drinking has become self-harm.”

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