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Information for RAs

  • Services
  • Presentations
  • Consultations and Wellness Coaching
  • How to Intervene with Someone Who Doesn’t Want Help
  • Do You Have a Resident Who is in Recovery? Or an Adult Child of an Alcoholic?
  • Links

Help Is Available Through Center for Student Wellbeing.

Services include:

  • Wellbeing coaching
  • Skill-building workshops
  • Self help books available on loan basis
  • Scheduling presentations for residence halls, classrooms, or student organizations
  • Host Responsibility Training
  • Support for students living an alcohol-free lifestyle, students in recovery, or students who are cutting down on their alcohol or other drug use
  • Co-sponsorship opportunities

Presentations Available

Interactive, educational presentations are available with a two-week notice. If you desire a custom designed presentation to meet the needs of your residents, then please allow three weeks.


Consultations, private and confidential, are available for any student, but may be especially important for RAs to explore issues with their residents or trends in overall hall behavior.  Feel free to call (322-0480) or email ( to schedule an appointment.  For medical matters, call Student Health at 322-2427; for emergencies call the VUMC Emergency Room at 322-3391.

How to Intervene With Someone Who Doesn’t Want Help

Ways to recognize abuse patterns
Impact on community — other residents come to you asking what they should do to help the person and/or complaining of the person’s behavior (sometimes they won’t tell you it is alcohol-related). For students who are asking what they should do to help, consider sending them to the University Counseling Center (UCC) or the Center for Student Wellbeing (CSW)  for a private consultation.

If your resident doesn’t seem to be learning from his/her experiences and has repeated negative experiences, s/he may be developing a psychological dependence on alcohol. A referral to the alcohol and other drug therapist in the University Counseling Center (UCC) would be helpful to explore this possibility.

Personal behaviors — the following list is not meant to be a diagnostic tool; as an RA you need to focus on behavior and not a diagnosis. This list is not comprehensive nor does exhibiting this behavior mean that there is an alcohol problem.

  • Exhibits loss of control (Over their behavior when they drink; how much they drink; when they drink; what they drink or drugs they take; loss of control of cravings)
  • Experiences memory loss/blackouts
  • Personality changes
  • Drinks to get drunk; can’t conceive of drinking without getting intoxicated
  • Brags about drinking
  • Uses alcohol as a crutch — to provide liquid courage; to deal with stress; to socialize
  • Drinks at unusual times — while studying or first thing upon awakening
  • Talks excessively about alcohol, drinking or procuring alcohol
  • Has had run-ins with authority but still hasn’t changed behavior
  • Allows drinking to interfere with studies or other valued activities

Do You Have a Resident Who is in Recovery?  Or an Adult Child of An Alcoholic?

As an RA, you may not be aware that a resident is in recovery or is an adult child of an alcoholic or addict (ACOA). This information would normally come to you from the resident. Upon telling you, ask the resident how you can be supportive. Explore specifics: Do they need to hang out with you the first few Friday or Saturday nights? Do they need to know about alcohol-free events on campus? Do they need to know of other support services available on campus? Off campus?

Be honest with the resident about your knowledge in these areas. See if the resident would recommend a book or a website that could increase your awareness and understanding. Ask if you can check in on them occasionally without telling others about their situation.

Encourage them to continue or start counseling and self-help programs. Only if you have the time available, offer to go with them to their first counseling session or self-help meeting. Be very clear however, where you can support (give of your time) and where you are not able. Consistency and trustworthiness is vital to any relationship with a person in recovery or an adult child of an alcoholic/addict.

Vanderbilt Recovery Support (VRS) has a designated space for meeting, studying or just hanging out.  Programs and social activities are planned by students and supported by Student Affairs. Contact our office (343-4740) for more information about our weekly student-led meetings.


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