Greek Council adopts alcohol training program

A new amendment has been added to the Greek constitution that requires new members of Greek organizations to become certified in Training for Intervention Procedures (TIPS).

Greek organizations unanimously agreed to make the TIPS program mandatory among incoming members to help the Greek image on campus.

TIPS, which started as a voluntary program, is designed as a preventive method to keep alcohol abuse from getting out of hand, said Tony Lauto, Greek Council Executive Board president.

"I think it’s a good idea because there are situations that we do have to deal with on a regular basis," Zeta Beta Tau President Gregory Masiak said. "It shows that we are conscious that things can happen and we are taking steps to be prepared."

One student on the Greek e-board was previously certified before Ted Winkworth of the Lifestyles Center was hired. He made other members on the board aware of the program.

Winkworth promoted the idea to the Greek organizations by getting a group of students together, including Peer Educators and members of the Greek system, to talk to the Greek organizations.

"It represents the idea that the Greek students really are looking out for their campus community," Winkworth said. "Clearly they care about taking care of each other and clearly they care about taking care of the campus, and I’m really excited that they have this way to demonstrate that because they really are an influential group on campus."

"It’s not a program to say don’t drink alcohol, stay away from it, it’s bad," Lauto said. "It’s just a proactive look at it."

The TIPS program will help students be aware of situations that could possibly get out of hand.

The program involves a two to three hour class with 15-30 other students being taught by TIPS certified students. It is an interactive class in which students will learn about the risk factors of drinking, how to tell if someone needs to be taken away from the situation and how to distract him or her to get them to calm down.

During the class, students watch videos and hold up cards in order to rate different situations on how dangerous they are. The classes also involve practice runs to see how students would react or handle different situations.

"You just mess around with your friends you’re taking the class with and act goofy," Lauto said.

The class is a one-time session and is offered on Saturday mornings or afternoons. A list of students who took the class is sent to the company, where they are officially certified and then the official card is sent to The Point. The student is then certified for three years.

There was an overwhelming response to the idea of new members becoming TIPS certified and the Greek Council found that most of the older members, such as presidents and vice presidents, of the organizations were already TIPS certified.

"We were going to do it before it was even mandatory," Alpha Sigma Chi President Shannon Hatton said. "We have two TIPS trainers so they were going to do it for our sorority."

Greek members agreed that the change to the constitution is positive because it helps the Greek image on campus. It is the first big step taken by the Greeks to show the positive things that they do and are not necessarily recognized for, according to Lauto.

"I think that a lot of people stereotype Greeks for just being party animals," Lauto said. He believes that people overlook a lot of the positive things that Greek organizations do, including community service.

"It is necessary to have [TIPS] here on campus because it’s good to show that something that was started a year and a half ago on voluntary basis is picking up momentum," Student Involvement Coordinator Maggie Rivera said.

It also shows the administration that they do not need to force things upon the Greek organizations. The Greeks are taking the initiative to make the campus a better place, Rivera said.

The TIPS program will bring awareness to other organizations on campus and show that Greeks took an initiative and were being leaders, Lauto said.