Campus Alcohol Policies and Their Impact on Student Drinking

Most campus administrators have come to recognize that alcohol policies play a role in changing students’ behaviors towards alcohol. As students arrive on campus there is typically an increase in students’ alcohol use, what we call the “college effect” (see Figure 1). Students who have not been heavy drinkers may begin to consume greater amounts of alcohol. Those who have only occasionally had a drink may begin to drink more frequently, and those who have abstained may begin to experiment with alcohol for the first time. Policy enforcement during this time period is critical to set the tone on campus; however, students should be held accountable with consistent enforcement throughout the remainder of the year as well.

Figure 1. The College Effect – Student Arrival on Campus Corresponds with an Increase in Alcohol Use

the college effect everfi

There is a body of research with supporting evidence that policies can make a difference when designed and delivered appropriately. This policy research is presented succinctly within the newly released NIAAA CollegeAIM matrix, which also includes a top efficacy rating for AlcoholEdu, EverFi’s online alcohol education program for incoming first-year students. Environmental strategies are a broad set of policies and programs to reduce alcohol problems among college students. There are three broad levels of policy implementation: state, community, and institutional.

Examples of state level laws include minimum legal drinking age (MLDA) law, high volume sales and consumption, such as happy-hour sales, keg registration, or pitcher sales. Examples of community-level policies include increased surveillance and enforcement by city police, server guidelines, and noise ordinances. Institutional policies include restricting alcohol to specific locations, registration of social events with alcohol, banning kegs, alcohol education programs, sanctions for student violators, and parental notification for underage students.

An education and publicity component must be considered part of the policy effort. Even if policies are in place, those who are targeted must be aware of the policies in order to comply. When new policies are created, it is important to involve students early in the decision making process. Once policies are created, they must be enforced consistently to be meaningful deterrents.

Research shows that student support for stronger policies and enforcement is greater than most students perceive it to be (see Figure 2). In a study published in the Journal of American College Health, including 32 four-year institutions, ninety percent of students supported stricter disciplinary sanctions for students who engage in alcohol-related violence. The students’ perception was that only 65 percent of their peers would support stricter disciplinary sanctions. Seventy-three percent of students supported stricter disciplinary sanctions for students who repeatedly violate campus alcohol policy, but students thought only 41 percent of their peers were supportive. This information is important to share with student to correct misperceived norms and also with stakeholders on campus. Staff, faculty, and senior leaders may be surprised by such strong student support for stronger alcohol policies and enforcement.

Figure 2. Student Support for Alcohol Policies

student support for alcohol policies everfiSource: DeJong, W., Towvim, G., & Schneider, S. (2007). Support for alcohol-control policies and enforcement strategies among US college students at 4-year institutions. Journal of American College Health, 56(3). 231-236.

Next month we will be conducting a webinar on how alcohol policies and programming relate to the practice of pre-gaming. You can register for our upcoming webinar here: Strategic Drinking: Exploring the Culture of Pre-gaming and Implications for Practice. We will be providing examples of how campuses and national fraternities and sororities have begun to address this ongoing challenge.

Engaging Youth in the Political Process: John Hancock’s Summer Program Changes the Conversation

“An educated citizenry is a vital requisite for our survival as a free people.” – Thomas Jefferson

We’ve all seen the alarming statistics about youth disengagement in the political process that are often cited by the national media. For example, in the 2012 U.S. Presidential election, youth voter turnout was among the lowest in the world, when 50% of eligible young people chose not to cast a vote. John Hancock Financial is working to change that narrative by providing critical civic education tools to young people.

CH5U9905 (1)This summer, as part of John Hancock’s MLK Summer Scholars program 650 Boston-area teens were given access to EverFi’s online course, Commons: Digital Town Square, in addition to meaningful work experience opportunities at almost 80 non-profit organizations throughout the city. The web-based curriculum provided scholars with the opportunity to develop and utilize critical civic skills. Scholars finished their Commons experience by writing an op-ed about a political topic of their choice.

According to a survey taken after completing the course, scholars were 40% more likely to write letters to a newspaper about social or community concerns than they were before taking the course and 31% more scholars agreed with the statement that “I feel confident in my ability to explain to another person how the United States Government functions”.

With the rise of the digital age, civic participation increasingly happens online. Critical functions such as voter registration, tax returns, political campaigns, advocacy and peer-to-peer communication have moved into the digital space. In today’s networked society, digital literacy has become an indispensable part of civic empowerment. The MLK Summer Scholars program addresses this reality by marrying civic engagement education with an engaging digital learning experience.

On September 20th, John Hancock celebrated youth civic engagement by publishing an ‘advertorial’ spread in the Boston Globe with an op-ed authored by MLK Summer Scholar, Chris Cadogan, winner of the op-ed competition for MLK Summer Scholars to enter after completing the Commons course. The impressive final entries for the competition included op-ed’s about Gun Violence, Environmental Philanthropy, Gentrification, Religious Freedom, and more. Read Chris’s op-ed about LGBTQ+ youth here.

Partnership in Prevention – New Online Programs from EverFi and the University of Michigan

For the past 15 years, EverFi has forged deep partnerships with campuses on a range of critical wellness and success issues. As sexual assault prevention and response initiatives have continued to gain momentum across the country, we are proud to be working with over 800 colleges and universities in their efforts to support and protect students.

Today, we are thrilled to announce a partnership with the University of Michigan to develop two new online prevention programs, Haven for Faculty & Staff and Haven Plus, which will serve graduate and non-traditional student populations.

Developed in partnership with the University of Michigan, including nationally recognized campus sexual assault prevention expert and Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) negotiated rulemaker Holly Rider-Milkovich and CUPA-award winning developer of campus intimate partner violence prevention programming Kathleen Donohoe, these new programs will help extend primary and ongoing sexual assault prevention training across all members of diverse campus communities.

We are also announcing a webinar on Thursday, November 5th from 2 to 3 PM (EST), where we will debut these new online programs side-by-side with our partners at the University of Michigan.

Watch University of Michigan staff speak to their institutional commitment to providing a safe environment for students to live, work and grow.

The two new programs will help campuses meet and exceed Clery Act (Campus SaVE and VAWA) and Title IX requirements, and incorporate the unique experiences and perspectives of campus faculty and staff and graduate and non-traditional students. The programs integrate scenarios and information that are relatable to these diverse populations, highlighting the broader implications of these important issues on both work and family life, providing critical education on sexual harassment, connecting individuals with support resources, and discussing factors that contribute to sexual and relationship violence to encourage leadership in prevention.

Register for our webinar with the University of Michigan on Thursday, November 5th from 2 to 3 PM (EST), to learn more about these exciting new online programs, and hear perspectives from the Michigan team.

5 Evidence-Based Tips for Maximizing Prevention Efforts with Incoming Students

As the 2015-16 school year gets underway, we, as campus prevention professionals, are all a year further from our own college experience. Do you remember what coming to campus was like⎯the emotions (excitement, anxiety, uncertainty), the events (moving in, saying goodbye, orientation), the information we got about health, wellness, and safety?

The messages we provide new students in their first few days about alcohol, dating, intimate relationships, and looking out for others are critically important. Here are some suggestions and recommendations as you look ahead at this new year of opportunity.

Tip #1. Actively question assumptions. The “ideal college experience” is as diverse as our student body. Having prevention programs that appeal to students’ interests is important, but try to avoid “we know you’re going to do this so just be safe” messages. These expressions reinforce problematic and inaccurate stereotypes that partying hard and hooking up are quintessential student experiences. At best, this runs the risk of missing the mark for many students. At worst, this can disenfranchise our most healthy, respectful, and responsible students. Find ways to truly understand students’ values and what they want to get out of their college experience, and use this as a springboard for highlighting synergies with our prevention messages.

Tip #2. Focus on the positive. Our AlcoholEdu data gathered from over 600,000 incoming students suggest that most new students fall into the categories of non-drinker or abstainer (i.e., they have not consumed any alcohol in the past 2 weeks or the past year, respectively), even when we survey them half way through the fall semester.  Similarly, we know from Haven survey data from more than 600,000 students that the vast majority have overwhelmingly healthy attitudes and behaviors when it comes to relationships and topics related to sexual assault. This raises an important question: is our goal to prevent unhealthy behaviors or promote positive behaviors? By focusing on the latter—albeit not exclusively—we deliver messages that align and resonate with many more students than focusing on how to avoid negative experiences. In turn, the healthy student majority can be engaged as agents of change by modeling healthy behaviors and creating a sense of responsibility and accountability among their peers.

Tip #3. Promote a culture of caring. The first person a sexual assault survivor tells about their experience has a profound impact on their healing process and future disclosures. Our research from Campus Climate surveys administered on 65 campuses to over 14,000 students shows that when survivors disclose their experience, they most often turn to close friends. This underscores the importance of fostering a peer culture that is supportive, non-judgmental, and well equipped to offer resources to survivors. That said, over 25% of survivors tell no one about their experience (see Figure 1.) and cite a variety of reasons: they felt it was a private matter, they were ashamed/embarrassed, or they didn’t think what happened was serious. As administrators and prevention professionals, our job is to help create an institutional culture where students recognize their right to be treated with respect and feel that they have the resources, tools, and support to come forward and seek assistance if needed.

Figure 1. Student Reporting of Sexual Assault Incidences

for blog dataTip #4. Treat them like adults. EverFi’s survey research has shown that incoming first-year college students who considered themselves to be more adult-like before starting college drank more responsibly once they were on campus. By making it clear that students arriving on your campus are seen as mature, responsible adults, you may be more likely to inspire this behavior. This message cannot stand alone, but instead should be delivered in the context of messaging that underscores the college’s standards and expectations, rein¬forces students’ commitment to their educational goals, introduces them to the rich opportunities available to them, both academically and socially, and corrects their often exaggerated misperceptions of campus drinking norms. Importantly, these messages should also be complemented with systems, policies, and processes that consistently hold students accountable if they do not live up to this new set of expectations of young adulthood.

Tip #5. Make prevention messages ever-present and ongoing. Two hallmarks of strong prevention approaches are salience and repetition. We should ensure that prevention and promotion messages are ubiquitous in the new college environment – in the classroom, in residence halls, on school websites, in prevention programs, and across campus. And, like any good college curriculum, these messages should build on each other over time to deepen students’ understanding and sharpen their skills. One particular point to be aware of is the importance of including messages about the availability of resources for sexual assault survivors, particularly during the heightened risk period in the initial weeks of first-year students’ time on campus. EverFi research has shown that survivors who receive training on how to report a complaint, the availability of confidential resources, and on the campus investigation process were significantly more likely to report their assault.

As you embark on a new year with new and returning students, certainly embrace the notion that prevention should happen early and often but also keep yourself and your institution committed to a long-term vision for evidence-based prevention.

We wish you all the best on your efforts to promote lasting health, wellness, and safety for your students this year.

EverFi & Arizona State Treasurer Host Financial Literacy Roundtable for Advocates in the State

Urgency to address a critical skills gap in K-12 financial education was the theme for a spirited discussion led by Arizona State Treasurer Jeff DeWit and EverFi. On August 12th, EverFi and Treasurer DeWit hosted a roundtable discussion with community leaders on the importance of financial education in the state of Arizona.  

It is my goal to improve the financial knowledge of all Arizona students,” said Treasurer DeWit.  “It is critical that education leaders, business leaders, and technology innovators, like EverFi, continue to collaborate to reach more students with critical skills education.

During the 2014-15 school year, EverFi reached 113 Arizona schools through its financial literacy programs and served over 8,000 students.  Students increased their knowledge in financial literacy topics by 85% after completing the course and felt more prepared to make financial decisions on their own.IMG_2040

Many Arizona community leaders joined Treasurer DeWit for the event including Phoenix Union High School District, Paradise Valley, Scottsdale Unified, Dysart Unified, Arizona Department of Education, and Arizona Charter School Association.

Tony Camp, Director of Career and Technical Education (CTE) for the Phoenix Union High School District, talked about the district’s integration of EverFi’s courses and the benefits they have seen.  He also invited several CTE students from Trevor Browne High School to share their experience with the program.

Rudy Lima, a 12th grade student at Trevor Browne High School, shared that I am grateful to have been exposed to EverFi’s financial education course in high school.  Before, I wasn’t confident I knew enough about my own finances, but now I feel more prepared to make important financial decisions as I enter my adult life.  I would encourage other students and teachers across the state to get involved with EverFi’s programs.

A Phoenix Union High School District 11th grade student explained how the program helped her to learn about the FAFSA so she could apply for financial aid when she was ready to go to college.  All of the students in attendance have plans to go to college and stated that the program helped them to understand their financial options.

EverFi and Treasurer DeWit plan to work on a continuation plan to keep the group engaged and actively involved in the advancement of financial education in the state.  For more information about the roundtable or EverFi’s programs in Arizona, please contact Jessica Golden, Arizona Schools Manager, at 




Prioritizing Primary Prevention and Awareness Programs for All Incoming Students and Employees

This is part two of an EverFi blog series regarding Clery Act & Title IX compliance, and sexual assault prevention best practices. You can learn more by reading part one, here.

New Clery Act mandates, put in place by the 2013 re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act, have now gone into effect requiring all colleges and universities to offer “primary prevention and awareness programs” to all incoming students and employees.

But questions remain for many institutions: how do primary prevention and awareness programs differ, and how will prevention and compliance officers meet and exceed these mandates?

For clarification, the definitions of these two separate programmatic approaches—primary prevention and awareness—are detailed below (Figure 1).

Primary Prevention Programs Awareness Programs
Primary prevention programs means programming, initiatives, and strategies informed by research or assessed for value, effectiveness, or outcome that are intended to stop dating violence, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking before they occur through the promotion of positive and healthy behaviors that foster healthy, mutually respectful relationships and sexuality, encourage safe bystander intervention, and seek to change behavior and social norms in healthy and safe directions. Awareness programs means community-wide or audience- specific programming, initiatives, and strategies that increase audience knowledge and share information and resources to prevent violence, promote safety, and reduce perpetration.

Figure 1. Primary Prevention and Awareness Programs, as Defined in VAWA Negotiated Rulemaking

Prevention efforts must go beyond increasing knowledge and awareness about definitions, policies, statistics, and resources. From a best practice perspective, primary prevention programs should be developed to address the root causes of violence and abuse in order to prevent their initial occurrence. The end goal is to reduce—and ultimately eliminate—the risk of sexual assault perpetration and victimization. Put simply, we are striving for behavior change – decreasing dangerous or harmful behaviors and increasing healthy, positive behaviors. Awareness programs, alone, have not been shown to impact behavior in the absence of a more comprehensive approach that addresses the attitudes, expectations, experiences, and social norm (mis)perceptions that drive behavior.

Sexual assault stems from a confluence of such factors that contribute to greater risk for experiencing or perpetrating violence. The Social Ecological Model (Figure 2) is a public health framework for addressing these individual, relational, community, and societal influences that should be incorporated into prevention programs to ensure that they are comprehensive and effective. Done well, primary prevention programs can spark a positive cultural shift necessary for driving down rates of sexual assault, on campuses and beyond.

Prevention and Awareness Training for All Incoming Students and Employees

 Figure 2. Social Ecological Model

For many schools, investing in primary prevention helps to address sexual and relationship violence before it happens, reducing the impact these crimes have on students, staff, and the campus community at large. Successful prevention programs that, over time, lead to lower rates of violence will decrease the need for institutions to invest as heavily in response, ultimately lowering the direct and indirect costs of these offenses.

In fact, studies have shown substantial return-on-investment (ROI) of public health prevention programming, with additional savings on intervention and treatment costs. One study found that for every $1 invested in community-based prevention, the return amounts to $5.60, or an ROI of 460%.

The Clery Act legislation requires institutions to provide primary prevention programs to all incoming students, staff, and faculty. This includes transfer, graduate, and non-traditional student populations like online enrollees, military, and more. Providing education to such diverse populations at scale can be difficult for many campuses, so the addition of online programs is becoming an invaluable prevention approach for many schools, including Oregon State University.

“We were looking for something that would help us meet all of our compliance requirements,” says Roni Sue, Co-Associate Director of Bias Prevention and Education with Oregon State University’s Office of Equity & Inclusion. “But we also required a program that would drive real positive changes in student attitudes and behaviors.”

Oregon State has been able to achieve a 95% completion rate of their sexual assault prevention programs for incoming students by incorporating online training, allowing the University to address key compliance requirements and protect their diverse campus population.

As institutional leadership consider these mandates, and what they mean for their students, faculty, staff, and institution, we’ve compiled a free Title IX and Clery Act guidebook to help institutions meet and exceed compliance. In addition, we will be hosting a webinar on this topic on Wednesday, August 5th, from 2 to 3 PM (EST).


May Student of the Month Blog Contest Winner!

As the school year came to a close, students all across North America submitted blog posts and we have selected our winners for May’s Student of the Month contest.  We are proud to share this student’s inspiring story about the impact EverFi’s financial literacy courses has had.

Longley P. from Von Steuben Metropolitan High School said:

The EverFi program had a personal impact on my life and the decisions that I will make moving forward by introducing me the fundamentals in the economy; what it is, how you use it, and why you use it. Some things that this program introduced were: savings, or the process of saving money while earning more money at the same time; banking, or the process of how banks work in savings, interests, and special fees; payments: the different types and their advantages and disadvantages, like cash or paper, which accrues no interest but maintains lots of control, and plastic debit or credit cards, direct withdrawal from account and a loan from the bank to pay later, respectively; debt, or money owed to someone, how to pay it back and stay out of it; Future investments for higher education, your first car, a house, etc.; insurance, or how to be protected from debt in case of an incident; privacy, or how to protect yourself from identity theft.

The program has changed my attitude or behavior by guiding me in reevaluating the value and meaning of money, helping me understand why the world loves earning and spending money for their own benefits, both long-term and short-term, rather than just spending on what they desire. My future goal is to exceed expectations of me in high school, and especially excel in the computer science field to become a software developer specializing in video games. I want to pursue this because the generation today focuses so much on gaming, making it an activity that I want to take to the next level. The EverFi course I completed will help prepare me to achieve my goal by giving me a conscience inside my mind that is specialized in handling my finances, which will help me invest in my future goals. This course also helped me understand how to not spend money irrationally, and instead spending it on something that will get me closer to my future goal of working in gaming education.

I have seen most of my family members spend money in the least beneficial way, on scams such as free giveaways with fees, spending it to only feed their wants, like on cigars, and spending more than what’s needed. Knowing the difference between necessities and wants is crucial. Now that I have completed this course, the first set of actions that I will focus on will be to help my entire family (mother, father, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, etc.) set up a budget, determine what they need and what they don’t need, help them look at their current budget that lead them to debt and then their budget that will get them out of debt, as well as how much money they could have been saving all this time for future investments. Then, I will help reconcile all of their statements in order to make sure they got the message and see if there were any unusual activities. By doing this my family will be able to live much more comfortably and maybe get new cars, invest in a home, and live in a much safer, cleaner environment.

How to Exceed Clery Act and Title IX Compliance Mandates

As of July 1st, federal legislation has gone into effect requiring all colleges and universities to offer “primary prevention and awareness programs” to all incoming students and employees, as well as “ongoing prevention and awareness campaigns” – all dedicated to help address campus sexual assault.

These guidelines are part of the Clery Act, put in place by the 2013 reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. Many refer to these Clery Act amendments as the Campus SaVE Act, and they will be enforced by the Department of Education in addition to all requirements of Title IX.

As institutional leadership consider these mandates, and what they mean for their students, faculty, staff, and institution, we’ve compiled a free guidebook to help institutions meet and exceed compliance. In addition, we will be hosting a webinar on this topic on Wednesday, August 5th, from 2 to 3 PM (EST).


The oft-cited statistics that 20-25% of college women (and 3-6% of college men) will experience sexual assault during their time on campus, albeit horrific, are only numbers. These numbers represent thousands of women and men whose lives are drastically affected by preventable violence and abuse. Depression, PTSD, anxiety, eating disorders, suicide, substance abuse, harmed social/intimate relationships, poor academic performance, higher rates of dropping out, and heightened risk for future victimization are among the potential fallout.

Beyond the physical, mental, and emotional toll sexual assault has on survivors, the impact of violence on higher education institutions is significant in multiple mission-critical domains: student attrition, reputational repercussions, enrollment, litigation costs, federal investigations tied to fines and funding cuts, more staff time, and increased demand for services. In fact, a report from the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault estimated a total economic cost of $87,000 to $241,000 per rape, while a recent study by United Educators cited $17M in losses to colleges and universities for sexual assault claims resulting in litigation (an average of $200,000 for defending/resolving each claim). To put this into perspective, a recent EverFi analysis found that the average campus sexual assault prevention budget is under $30,000.

As federal and state lawmakers continue to confront these issues, and mandates from Title IX, the Clery Act, and other pending legislation continue to evolve, institutions will require a more thorough and holistic approach to their sexual assault prevention efforts.

As part of our guidebook, we’ve compiled a list of key requirements from both the Clery Act and Title IX so that you can review your current efforts and ensure your institution is taking a best practice approach to create safer, healthier campus communities. Download our Clery Act and Title IX guidebook today, and learn how to meet and exceed the new compliance mandates.

Congratulations to the Spring 2015 Montana Bankers Blog Contest Winners!

We are thrilled to announce the winners of the Spring 2015 Montana Bankers Financial Scholars Blog Contest! Montana Bankers Association and its participating member banks asked all Montana students who completed the EverFi Financial Literacy program to share their thoughts on the impact the course has had on their lives and the financial decisions they’ll make as they strive for their dreams in the future. We were astounded by the incredible submissions we received this semester — their stories were truly inspiring.

After receiving over 70 entries from students across the state who completed the online financial education course, our committee has chosen three winners, each of whom will receive a $500 award! Congratulations to our 3 final winners, Mecaila, Emma, and Brooklyn. Here are their stories:

Winner #1
Mecaila M.
Wolf Point High School, MT
Sponsored by Montana Bankers Association and First Community Bank
I plan to attend Minot State University in pursuit of a bachelor degree to become a registered nurse (RN). As well as a Bachelors degree, I plan to achieve a concentration in Photography and Addiction Studies. After receiving my Bachelors in Nursing, I want to further my education by receiving my masters in nursing while working as a Registered Nurse. After college, my goal is to obtain a full time career in nursing. I want to work at a smaller hospital because it allows me to further my education to all aspects of the medical field, including the Emergency Room, Obstetrics and general patient care. I look forward to working with all types of people from newborns to elderly people. I am very excited to pursue my passion in helping people through nursing.

Participating in the First Community Bank Financial Scholars Program has been more than helpful. I am fully prepared to handle any situation that will come to me after high school. Although I had already filled my FAFSA out, the course helped me by explaining exactly what I had filled out and what everything meant. I learned what the best options for saving money are and how compounding money over time will help me succeed. One of the most helpful things that I learned was credit card protection. I never realized that it was so easy to have your identity stolen. I enjoyed the interactive parts of this program, because it allowed me to see if I completely understood the subject that I had learned. Overall, I am glad that I took the time to complete this program, for I see it being beneficial to me after high school.

Winner #2
Emma H.
Bozeman High School, MT
Sponsored by Montana Bankers Association and Big Sky Western Bank

During high school, I have dreamt of what college would be like, what friends I would make, where I will go, what to do with my life. But rarely did I stop and think about how to get there and when I am there, how to pay. My father always advised that I take as many courses in financial literacy as possible. As soon as college letters came in we sat down, made a plan, looked at what money I had, and what I needed. It was a wake up call. Getting accepted wasn’t the hardest part. To me, receiving the Montana Bankers Financial Scholars Blog Contest award could mean the opportunity to be one enormous step closer to attending my dream college of Boise State University.

I am a people person, and feel connected to those who face the burdens of poverty or other barriers. Throughout school I have volunteered at local homeless shelters and soup kitchens, and assisted with events to benefit my community. I plan on majoring in Public Relations or Political Science. The political world fascinates me and one day I want to continue to advocate for people in need. Through scholarships, grants, and my part-time job I aspire to graduate college with little to no debt. This opportunity would help me become closer to that goal and continue my path of education to one day help inspire myself and those around me to adhere to a lifestyle that can be debt free. Being a part of the Montana Bankers Financial Scholars program has already done so much for my personal life. It has taught me how to plan for retirement, invest early, be smart with my money, and understand how to continue a debt free lifestyle for the rest of my life.

Winner #3
Brooklyn F.
Charlo High School, MT
Sponsored by Montana Bankers Association and Community Bank

Growing up is all about responsibility and preparation. Like anything else, we need a plan to work towards and accomplish our goals. One of my goals in life is to attend college and become a biomedical engineer. Although financial education may not be the first thing that comes to mind, individual qualities such as organization and useful management of time, equipment, and money are all necessary to successfully obtain and maintain this occupation. The Community Bank Financial Scholars Program has motivated me to start early with finance, create budgets, and make wise decisions where money management is concerned.

Through this program, I have discovered how important and delicate finance is. I learned how to set goals and achieve them. I even realized how decisions now affect me later on and how to select the best banking options for me. Before taking the course, I had multiple bank accounts and credit cards, all of which I barely knew anything about, aside from how to withdraw money. Now I am able to balance my checks, make deposits and transactions, and keep track of my money. I make smarter purchases and conserve additional amounts of money for college.

Armed with these crucial life skills, I am now confident that I will make beneficial decisions that will help me buy a home, secure my dream job, and stay clear of debt. This program has not only taught me how to manage my money and set high goals but to start good saving habits and develop my skills. The Community Bank Financial Scholars Program has educated me in more ways than I previously thought imaginable. I would recommend anyone, young or old, to take this online course. The Community Bank Financial Scholars Program has undoubtedly made an impact on my life and changed my perspective regarding my future.

A (Brief) Primer on Effective Planning for Student Wellness

We talk a lot about the virtues of good planning here at EverFi. Indeed, it is a hallmark of doing effective work—of any kind. This month, you’re likely writing up your end-of-year reports and starting to consider the year ahead. It seems timely for a reminder of the importance of planning and the availability of tools and resources to support this important aspect of your efforts. The first part of any good planning process will be a situational assessment. What are the needs and strengths of your students, and how can they be better supported? These answers may come from your most recent NCHA II or Core survey data, or perhaps AlcoholEdu and/or Haven. You might also look to service utilization reports in order to determine where and how students are accessing your services, and how and whether you are meeting their needs. This phase of planning should also consider what resources and assets are available in order to establish goals that are realistic.

This formative analysis should also consider the broader campus environment and your surrounding community. What are the threats or challenges posed to students making safe and healthy choices? How might you influence the environment so that healthy and safe choices are easier? The research base must inform this part of the thought process. If there is no research base, then the thought process should be informed, at the very least, by behavioral change theory. Environmental changes may include reducing low-priced drink specials in your community, providing more alcohol-free opportunities on campus, expanding access to recreational facilities, or promoting healthy norms regarding sexual activity, consent, or bystander intervention.

Goal setting is best supported using a logic model, where you can map out the impact of your proposed activities into short-term outputs, medium-term outcomes, and eventually long-term impact. A logic model will force you to check assumptions and can help identify gaps in your thinking or efforts that might lead to failure. It also helps identify evaluation measures, which, once collected, will enable you to determine where you were successful, and where along the process things may have fallen short. As you set about articulating objectives in order to reach your goals, a useful tool to follow is the SMART method, which supports creating reasonable, concrete goals and objectives that are amenable to evaluation and improvement. SMART is an acronym for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely or Time-bound. There are several web-based SMART goal-planning tools and guides you might call upon; here and here are just two examples.

Once you have identified what must be done to reach your mission or overarching goal, you can begin to lay out an action plan of what will be done, when, and by whom. It will also help clarify the partners you will likely need to engage, and resources you will need to call upon in order to effect the change you are seeking. While this is an oversimplification of the planning process, thinking through these steps will greatly enhance the success of your campus health and safety efforts. One fantastic compendium of resources to call upon for planning and building healthy communities is the Community Tool Box. This resource contains a host of toolkits, information, and guidance to drive social change in support of healthy communities. The Healthy Campus 2020 MAP-IT model may also prove useful as you engage in this process. Congrats on wrapping up another academic year, and best of luck as you engage this process in planning for the year to come!