AUSTIN, Texas—The Alpha Tau Omega fraternity at The University of Texas at Austin lost three of its members during a two-week period earlier this year in accidents involving alcohol. Their loss has prompted the fraternity to partner with University Health Services’ Longhorns Against Drunk Driving and Brown Distributing, a local beer wholesaler, to bring Carolyn Cornelison to the university campus Sept. 25.
Cornelison takes her message, "Courage to Care," to colleges and universities across the country to help educate students about identifying signs of out-of-control drinking and helping friends with alcohol problems. During her presentation, she shares her personal stories of campus life as both a sorority member and athlete. "In light of our tragedy, we’re very pleased to bring Carolyn’s important message to the University of Texas. Her program promotes a realistic look at college drinking, taking responsibility and recognizing abuse," says ATO President Will Messer.
Through stories of her own college experiences and friendships, Cornelison teaches students her three keys to caring:
- Knowledge: Understanding the signs of out-of-control behaviors and knowing what to do about them.
- Sensitivity: Becoming aware of these behaviors in yourself and those around you.
- Courage: Taking steps to help someone who has a problem with alcohol.
According to a recent study conducted by Longhorns Against Drunk Driving, seven of 10 University of Texas at Austin students have zero to three drinks when they party, and don’t drink and drive.
"The majority of students are doing the right thing," Cornelison said. "What I try to do is to give students the information they need to identify that minority of their friends who may have a problem with alcohol and to get them the help they need."
Cornelison has participated in awareness programs for college fraternities and sororities, athletic departments and other college organizations at more than 150 campuses nationwide. She holds a Ph.D. from Florida State University, where she worked as director of the Campus Alcohol and Drug Information Center for four years. Most recently, she was director of special projects for the BACCHUS and GAMMA Peer Education Network. Her career also includes an extensive background in student activities and intramural sports programming.
EDITOR’S NOTE: To set up an interview with Carolyn Cornelison, call Diann Hodges at (512) 478-9353.