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The University of Wyoming's Alcohol Wellness Alternatives, Research and Education (AWARE) Program and Residence Life and Dining Services (RL&DS) received national recognition for outstanding work in alcohol abuse prevention among college students.
AWARE and RL&DS received a Silver Excellence Award from Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education (NASPA). This award recognizes the excellence and innovation in the programs and initiatives of UW's AWARE/Residence Life partnership.
Residence Life and AWARE work together on initiatives ranging from training resident assistants on alcohol issues to programming and marketing related to alcohol education. Residence Life refers all alcohol-related judicial violations to the AWARE Program, says Tony Earls, Residence Life associate director.
AWARE provides individualized alcohol education and skills training to students who have received an alcohol-related citation, says Lena Newlin, the program's coordinator. AWARE also provides alcohol education and skills training to UW students and leads a campus/community coalition that works to reduce underage drinking and alcohol abuse.
Earls and Newlin say the partnership has resulted in more than three years of data demonstrating a reduction in frequency and quantity of alcohol use; reduction in problems associated with alcohol use; reduction in risk factors associated with alcohol use; and increased protective behaviors reported among college students, such as use of designated drivers and setting drinking limits.
The recognition marks the Aware Program's second national award in two years. In 2008 the United States Department of Education recognized AWARE as a promising model program for preventing alcohol abuse, an honor awarded to only five institutions of higher education.