West Virginia University is challenging students physically to help them identify safe alternatives to alcohol.
Well WVU’s Carruth Center for Psychological and Psychiatric Services and the Mountaineer Adventure Program has developed High Expectations, a two-session program offered as an alternative to other mandated psychoeducational programs.
Previously students who were cited for underage drinking or some other alcohol-abuse related charge might be mandated to complete group sessions from the Student Assistance Program or the online sanctions portion of Alcohol.edu. Now, they can choose to participate in High Expectations.
High Expectations teaches the same information as other programming but will utilize experiential education and the WVU Challenge Course.
“WVU is offering High Expectations because we know how powerful the experiential piece can be in learning and the Challenge Course is a great place to make that happen,” said Deborah Beazley, social worker at the Carruth Center for Psychological and Psychiatric Services. “This program is an alternative to the traditional alcohol education program. The learning objectives include creating a safe, positive, group environment where a student can evaluate their abuse of alcohol or other drugs and identify other healthy activities.”
While this type of programming is new to WVU it is not new to the field. In fact, challenge courses and experiential education have been used widely in helping address alcohol and other issues, Beazley said.
Instead of the standard six-session educational program or taking the online sanctions course, participants of High Expectations will complete two half-day sessions over a two-week period. Both of these sessions are held at the WVU Challenge Course facility near Coopers Rock.
The sessions will utilize an interactive approach that will focus on past behaviors surrounding alcohol and partying, how to reduce harm or risk and alternative healthier behaviors and activities. One of the activities, aptly named “Team Party” requires the group to learn how to make better choices to manage their virtual Blood Alcohol Concentration while they move through the Team Development Course.
In addition to activities such as the Team Development Course, High Ropes activities will be utilized. The activities are designed to be challenging, but students are never forced or required to do something they are not comfortable with, Beazley said.
The activities and conversations will take place in a small group setting of eight participants and two to three instructors.
“The outcome of participation in the program is alcohol education, but that doesn’t prohibit participants from enjoying the process,” Beazley said.
While High Expectations was designed as an alternative to a mandated course within the Student Assistance Program, it can also be utilized as proactive measure for other organizations within the University such as athletic teams, greek organizations and clubs.
Transportation to the Challenge Course facility is provided.
Organizations interested in enrolling in High Expectations, can contact the Student Assistance Program at 304-293-4477 to schedule, or contact Beazley at 304-293-1377 with questions.
More information is available on Well WVU’s website at http://well.wvu.edu .
CONTACT: Deborah Beazley, WELL WVU