Think about this: Alcohol and sexual assault prevention training required only of new students

K-State's website is pulled up on a student's computer on January 28. (Melanie White | Collegian Media Group)

The requirements for the online Alcohol and Sexual Assault Prevention (ASAP) training have been altered, only requiring new students to complete the modules as opposed to all students.

The ASAP webpage on Lafene Health Center’s website was updated on June 26 to reflect that change.

“Instead of having the students do it every year, which you know is not well accepted, and in order to meet the requirements and at least attempt to provide some standard educational concepts to all new students at K-State regardless of age, online, off-line, the revised 2019 policy now requires only new students to K-State complete the web-based alcohol and sexual assault prevent program,” said Jean DeDonder, director of alcohol and other drug education at Lafene Health Center.

The recommendation was made by a work group headed by the Office of Student Life. It also comes during the last year of K-State’s contract with Campus Clarity, the provider of the “Think About It” series used in the ASAP training.

In the year since the work group was created, its members — which include representatives from Student Life, the Global Campus, Student Governing Association and other campus entities — have also looked at potential replacements for the “Think About It” modules.

There was some hope, DeDonder said, to have a new program in place for this summer, but financial factors and contracts prevented it.

“The one thing that is the biggest roadblock would be the cost and how different departments would split it up,” said Lane Lundeen, former SGA health and wellness director and junior in fisheries, wildlife and conservation biology.

However, the work group will continue to look at options “to try to determine, based upon dwindling fiscal resources as well as our commitment to improve programming, what the best fit is,” DeDonder said.

A committee within the work group spent the last year looking into other programs which could replace the “Think About It” modules of the ASAP training, which are powered by Campus Clarity, a company that was recently bought out by EverFi, Inc., an educational technology company.

Lundeen said the committee looked at programs on the market, potential changes and how to meet the needs of different groups on campus, including non-traditional students, LGBT+ students and students whose primary language may not be English.

While a future replacement remains to be seen, the work group has put in effort to address students’ issues with ASAP training including the limits of online-only education and the repetition from year to year.

Requiring completed training of new students only solves the latter issue while simultaneously fulfilling federal requirements related to Title IX, Clery Act, drug abuse and sexual heath education.

“Repetition has a place, but we don’t want to push that,” DeDonder said. “We want to create new options that will reinforce change where you are in that stage of development. So when you came as a freshman, you are different than as you are now. Not to single out freshmen, but as you go through the life experiences of college, what worked at the beginning isn’t necessarily — or shouldn’t be — the same at the end.”

Paige Eichkorn, president of Wildcats Against Sexual Violence and senior in mass communications, said another issue that she and other students may have with the current ASAP Training is its position of online-only education.

“The main concern is that it is just online,” Eichkorn said. “It’s not productive or educational in the way we would like it to be. … We really want something interactive.”

Part of this may be addressed through other educational endeavors from Lafene which focus on behavior and education that is more individualized.

“Nobody has the perfect solution, so we try different strategies,” DeDonder said. “Education is the cornerstone of any public health program. That’s just a given. However, education in and of itself doesn’t necessarily change behavior.”

These efforts include brief screenings of patients who seek care at Lafene, additional screening with a program called eCHECKUP TO GO, the 21st Birthday Project and presentations.

When a patient receives care at Lafene, providers ask three questions to gain insight into the patient’s alcohol use to distinguish whether their behavior is low-risk, harmful or dependent. If a provider is concerned by the self-reported behaviors, the patient may be referred to Jessi Blasi, alcohol and other drug education director, who is also a licensed masters addiction counselor.

Blasi is also qualified to give presentations tailored to different groups like fraternities and sororities.

“I also think that ASAP is sort of the starter course,” Blasi said. “Then, we start to build onto the program and help the students be more aware of the prevention piece.”

eCHECKUP TO GO is another online option that is free for students to gain insight into their relationship with alcohol and how it might be affected by genetics and family history.

The 21st Birthday Project, launched last August, sends an email invitation to students ahead of their 21st birthday to attend a brief educational session on responsible alcohol use and receive a “celebration coupon book.”

“We really do ultimately want students to succeed, and if there’s alcohol, substance use, or traumatic events, it’s going to affect dramatically the person’s academic life, personal life, the whole component,” DeDonder said. “Prevention would be great, but we’re also here when those situations might occur.”

Hey, hi, hello! I’m Rachel Hogan, the copy chief for The Collegian. I’m a senior in journalism from Olathe, Kansas. When I’m not at work in the newsroom, I like to spend my time cuddling with my dog, working as a barista and laughing with my friends.